A few weeks ago, I got some good news. One of my good friends proposed to his girlfriend and she said yes. Finding out on Facebook on a thread with five of his other close friends, I couldn’t have been more happy for them both. Each of us in turn congratulated him and his fiancé, sharing in the moment, before he told his other friends with a status update and picture of the ring.

In the same week, Facebook announced a redesign of Newsfeed. Bigger pictures, a choice of feeds and a common experience across mobile and web were unveiled as part of plans to make the site even more about what your friends are sharing. Vadim Lavrusik, Journalism Program Manager for Facebook, said it was designed to allow users focus more on the people they care about most and those that got an early look at it declared it a success.

In the few days after the announcements, two things dawned on me. For one, I felt uncomfortable about being told about my friend’s engagement through Facebook. It might be the fact I’ve watched I Love You Man (which opens with an excited engagement ringaround) one too many times but I expected to receive a call, or a least a text teeing up a call, which would allow me, as the excited friend, to ask questions of my soon-to-be married mate. As it was, I got a little red notification, which didn’t feel at all dramatic enough for a piece of news like this.

The other was that the two announcements had a lot to do with one another. On one hand, here was a friend using Facebook to announce to his closest pals about some big news that meant a lot to him and, on the other, there was Facebook trying to encourage deeper, more meaningful engagement (no pun intended) between friends. On the face of it, this was perfect: not only was Facebook putting resource behind bringing users closer together but it was reverting back to one of its core principles, to give users ‘greater power to share and connect’. A win all round, you would have thought.

And yet it didn’t feel that way. Having been on the end of my friend’s message, I didn’t feel empowered by Facebook but less connected. All of a sudden, the ease of messaging, or rather being sent a message, grated on me.

Now you might say the way my pal told me was a reflection of him or our friendship or whatever; but my feeling is that the group message allowed him to tell the people he wanted to at the same time. In that way, it was practical for him as the messager but odd for me receiving that message.

Figuring I was getting carried away with Facebook’s role in way we communicate, I didn’t think about it much more until a week or so later, when friends began posting Mothers Day statuses. Mums that had a profile were tagged in thoughtful updates and those that didn’t were honoured with a picture from a family event.

The same day a dozen or so teammates from my football club discussed where we had gone wrong in our game the day before. We hadn’t played well, fingers were pointed and an unnecessary spat emanated out of nothing. A few clicks, that’s all it took. And it felt like further evidence of communication made too simple, conversation made too frictionless. Just as I had received a message rather than a call, others had posted an update in the place of sending a card or a text and had contributed to a thread rather than mentioning it in person, face-to-face. The bonds I had made with people growing up and at school and on the playing field, before Facebook even existed, suddenly seemed devalued and commoditised. Was there such a thing as too being too connected?

These incidents didn’t shake me enough to think about leaving Facebook (at the moment, the ease of organising to meet five or six friends makes it hard to do so) or that this hyperconnection only affects Facebook and not other social networks. But I think it’s noteworthy because of the way Facebook has positioned itself as a mission to strengthen the way people communicate one-on-one with each other. It was the top line in Mark Zuckerberg’s letter to potential investors back in January 2012  and it stretched to helping people ‘maintain relationships’ and achieve ‘long-term happiness’, no mean feat for any company, let along one as young as Facebook.

As the numbers continue to grow (1 billion users across the globe at the last count) it’ll be interesting to see how much Facebook holds onto its goal of connecting people and how much it focuses on connecting people like me more meaningfully. The new Newsfeed is a start but, for recipients of engagement announcements across the world, there’s more work to be done.