PINGING, Tweeting, Instagramming and Facebooking have all become an integral part of our lives, as we live in the age where hanging out on social media sites has become more important than even spending time with family.
A study, The third wheel: the impact of Twitter use on relationship infidelity and divorce by Russell B Clayton from the Department of Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia, published this month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking, sought to examine how social networking site use, specifically Twitter use, influences negative interpersonal relationship outcomes. This study specifically examined the mediational effect of Twitter-related conflict on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes, and how this mechanism was contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. A total of 581 Twitter users aged 18 to 67 years completed an online questionnaire.
"The results from the study showed that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, break-up, and divorce," the author said.
"The study demonstrates that Twitter and Facebook use can have damaging effects on romantic relationships. While social network sites may be beneficial in helping users keep in touch with others, research has shown that excessive use can be detrimental to romantic relationships. In fact, several studies have found that Facebook-induced jealousy, partner surveillance, posting ambiguous information, compulsive Internet use, and online portrayal of intimate relationships can be damaging to romantic relationships.
"Facebook monitoring leads to negative relationship outcomes, such as online and offline relationship intrusion, which may induce jealousy among romantic partners."
Moreover, many of us are guilty of what the findings present, as seen in the confessions below.
My relationship was affected by social media to an extent, as my girlfriend constantly complained about me Tweeting and being on Instagram showing love and liking pictures. In her opinion we weren't spending enough time together.
It caused a breakdown in communication and I felt like I couldn't talk to her anymore. It was as if she confided in her online friends more. We were both studying at college and she would be up till all hours doing assignments and if she took two hours to do it...one and a half hours would be spent on Facebook. Either she was chatting, looking through people's profiles and liking their stuff, or talking to strange guys. I couldn't be bothered so I started finding new friends too, and eventually we broke up.
To be fair, we are both social media junkies, but the relationship was affected in the sense that he would stay up late at nights using my computer to go on Skype and Facebook, and he wasn't Skyping with his brethren or friends or sisters. The mistrust came when I asked him for a phone call and as I was about to place the call a text came in saying 'Ok babe', so I checked his sent messages and saw where he texted the girl saying, "Careful what u send and don't video call me cauz she deh side a me." Well, this 'she' just told him to get the hell out of her house.
He Tweeted a lot. A lot, too much. Everywhere we'd go he would Tweet -- at dinner he would Tweet, at the movies he would Tweet. He spent more of his time Tweeting than talking to me.
She did some pretty messed-up stuff across the various networking sites. She would send nude pictures to her male friends once they requested it, Instagram her boobs and show how flat her stomach was. I felt threatened and insecure, and when I expressed my feelings it got worse. So I had to call it quits.
He confided in his Facebook friends more than he did in me, and I did not appreciate that.
— Kimberley Hibbert