Jane Austen's Ladies in the Facebook Age

“Why do you read Jane Austen?” someone asked me once. “Isn’t that boring old chick lit?”

Well, no. It’s not boring, and it’s not chick lit either - it’s actually pretty scathing social commentary, and it’s full of useful bits of advice. The wit and wisdom of Jane still has practical applications some two centuries after her death. But what if her novels took place today, in the age of social networking?

Marianne Dashwood

You know Marianne would totally be on top of social networking. She’d be regularly regaling her BFFs with photos of her cats, comments about the bagel she had this morning, her boring sister Elinor, and that super hot guy from over at Combe Magna who helped her out when she sprained her ankle! But - OMG! - it turned out he’s not so great after all, and Willoughby would be unfriended faster than you can say “Block This User.”


Emma Woodhouse

Emma only wanted to be friendly towards Harriet Smith because she saw her as a project, sort of a Build Your Own BFF, that she could mold to her own needs. Good thing Emma and Harriet didn’t live in the Facebook Age, because Harriett would be all “Harriet Smith is in a Relationship” and Emma would be all “DISLIKE!!” and then Harriet would be “OMG Harriet Smith is SINGLE again” every couple of days. Meanwhile, poor Mr. Martin would still be trying to figure out how to turn on the Internet, and Knightley would just give up and go to LinkedIn.

Status Update: It’s Complicated

Lizzie Bennett

One of the great Facebookers of her age would have to be Lizzie Bennett. We’ve all got a friend like Lizzie - the one who makes an awful lot of fuss complaining about that guy she hates… but totally doesn’t hate him at all. Meanwhile, Jane would simply like everything Lizzie had to say, Charlotte would offer sage advice, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, who would never deign to send a friend request, would simply be a Facebook Creeper and watch from afar to see what Lizzie was posting about him. Not like he cares. Much.

Status Update: Dearest friends, this man is a total jerk.

Lydia Bennett

Lizzie’s younger sister, Lydia, is a prime example of why really young teens shouldn’t have Facebook pages at all. In the Facebook Age, Lydia would be in constant competition with Kitty for who had the Most Facebook Friends, and all of Lydia’s would be cute boys in regimentals. Lydia is that girl everyone knows who’s going to post a photo of herself partying in Brighton, her corset partly undone, and a beer bong in her hand.


Anne Elliot

Anne Elliot just has better things to do than sit around updating her status. She spent nine years waiting for the love of her life to come back to her, and when he did, she almost lost him again, thanks to the interference of people who thought they knew what was best for her. But Anne prevailed, avoided the drama of social networking altogether, and is now sailing around the world as Mrs. Wentworth.

Status Update: This Person is No Longer on Facebook.


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