Are you Facebook Official yet?

According to a new study in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, “People who use Facebook more than once a day are more likely to report relationship conflicts arising from social media.” As soon as I say ‘relationships’ most of you think of either your own boyfriend/girlfriend or another couple you know of. And that’s perfectly normal, because most people at our age are thinking about it. Family, friends, acquaintances all come after that one special person. Gone are the days where doves flew to and fro with love letters. Bye-bye little birdy. Hello Social Media.

But is it necessary to show your affection for your partner online? On conducting a survey between people aged 15-25 via Survey Monkey, I found that a surprising 88% of respondents said that it’s not. With the large amount of ‘affection’ that we see splattered all around our news feed, we’d expect the amount to be much higher. But still, social media manages to take us over. When writer Holly Sidells’s boyfriend was not very keen about posting stuff about them online, she freaked out. (Sidell, 2011) “The real issue was that I attached meaning to his action (or rather, inaction). And that meaning I attached was that he’s not as in it as me, that I must have been making this whole love thing up in my head, and that he obviously doesn’t like me as much as I like him. WHOA. That’s quite a conclusion to jump to without any substantiated evidence!” she said. We make assumptions before even giving our partners a chance to give us answers to all the WH questions in our heads. Relationship downfall alert!

I am sure I’m not the only one who’s seen this couple going on about their love for each other online and as soon as you see them in public, you would not believe they are romantically involved with each other. Dr. Rachna Jain believes that people easily confuse ‘digital intimacy for true intimacy’. (Jain, 2010) It confuses you to see your friends talking about their relationship, sharing cute photos, quotes, and the likes online but barely ever even sit together in public. People might be shy in public, their families might be unaware, or maybe they are just trying to show EVERYONE how ‘happy’ they are, hence, all the love uproar online. In some cases, technology might just be the only way a relationship is still working. For instance, the ‘internet’ couple, which is basically, people who have never really met each other but have fallen for their online personalities. A survey respondent said that the Internet allows superficial relationships to happen but prevent meaningful relationships and are limited on many levels.

Also, technology is a major element of LDRs i.e. Long Distance Relationships with 76% of the young adults that took my survey, being in favour of it. It might be the only way they can communicate. Online dating expert Julie Spira talks about the beauty of old methods of communication. “Social media shouldn’t be a complete substitute for old-fashioned courtship or you might just find yourself with a digital pen-pal. Picking up the phone to hear someone’s voice will never go out of style.” (Spira, 2012) There were some conflicting views based on the concept of LDRs wherein one view said that it made people closer and appreciate the relationship more whereas the other said that it increases ‘fights, misinterpretations and false judgment.’

Social Media Marketing Expert Aanam Chashmawala said, “I think that with the era we’re in, there’s very little information that’s not already out there; so something like relationships is a matter of personal choice. From friends of friends to public, from exes being able to stalk you right up to the prying eyes of family members, the reach of the content you post will be far so as to the extent of your privacy settings.” (Chashmawala, 2014) We don’t realise the content we post on our respective social media handles until some friend stalks you and starts to like your posts from years ago. Aanam, however, supports the online media completely. “The point of social media has always been to enable communication, connect people, bring them together under one gigantic global roof, I think that it’s doing precisely that.”

We have the most control over what we put up online, and all we need to do is monitor what’s meant for the public and what’s not.

References:

Chashmawala, A. (2014). Facebook Relationships.

Jain, D. (2010). 4 Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Relationships |. Retrieved 2014, from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/4-ways-social-media-is-changing-your-relationships/

Sidell, H. (2011). Dating And Facebook: ‘It’s Complicated’. Retrieved 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/holly-sidell/facebook-relationship-sta_1_b_1098478.html

Spira, J. (2012). Social Media Etiquette: Do You Kiss and Tell?. Retrieved 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-spira/social-media-etiquette-do_b_1892369.html

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