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Twitter use may hurt your personal relationships

Harold Mandel's picture
Social Networking

Social media use has not only pros, but also serious cons. Reconsider your Twitter use.


It appears that there may sometimes be a downside to the use of social networking sites insofar as hurting personal relationships. The high tech social networking phenomenon with such firms as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ has revolutionized the way we can communicate with each other. It is anticipated that such communications should help to create and nurture quality social relationships. However, according to new research social networking on Twitter can actually at times hurt your social relationships.

Researchers decided to study the impact of using Twitter on relationship infidelity and divorce, reports the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. It was the purpose of this study to investigate how social networking site use, and particularly Twitter use, may influence negative interpersonal relationship outcomes. The researchers say it has been suggested by this study that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter associated conflict among romantic partners, which may turn lead to infidelity, breakup, and even divorce.

Twitter use is associated with infidelity and divorce, reports the University of Missouri on April 7, 2014, in a discussion of this research. Clearly the way people create and maintain relationships has been revolutionized by Twitter and other social networking services. However, it has been discovered by new research that Twitter use may actually cause damage to the romantic relationships of users.

Russell Clayton, who is a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, says he has found that active Twitter users are far more likely to experience Twitter associated conflict with their romantic partners. Clayton has gone on to explain that his results showed that Twitter associated conflict then may lead to negative relationship outcomes, which includes emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.

Clayton surveyed 581 Twitter users of all ages for this study. He asked participants questions dealing with their use of Twitter such as how often they:

1: Login in to Twitter

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2: Tweet

3: Scroll the Twitter newsfeed

4: Send direct messages to others

5: Reply to followers

Participants were than asked how much, if any, conflict developed between participants’ current or former partners due to Twitter use. Clayton simply asked: “How often do you have an argument with your current or former partner because of too much Twitter use?” He discovered that the more often a respondent reported being active on Twitter, the more likely they were to experience Twitter associated conflict with their partner. This conflict than significantly predicted negative relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup and divorce.

In previous research on Facebook Clayton observed that Facebook associated conflict and negative relationship outcomes were greater among couples who were in newer relationships of 36 months or less. The goal of this study was to examine whether the findings of his recent study, which concluded that Facebook use predicted Facebook associated conflict, which then led to breakup and divorce, were consistent with Twitter.

This new research has found with Twitter use the outcomes occurred regardless of the duration of a relationship. Clayton said, “I found it interesting that active Twitter users experienced Twitter-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes regardless of the length of the romantic relationship." Clayton suggests if Twitter users are experiencing Twitter associated conflict with their partner, users of all ages should limit their use of social networking sites to more healthy, reasonable levels.

It appears to me that the ease with which you can quickly tweet out your feelings about things has lead to at times free-floating comments. The excitatory nature of such responses appears to leave users vulnerable to quickly tweeting out comments and emotions which may jeopardize relationships. I suggest that users slow down and realize their tweets and other social networking communications may in fact set off intense emotional responses in their romantic partners. With this consideration in mind Twitter and other social networking site users should be encouraged to focus on the positive side of personal relations when online and work to try to nurture these relationships instead of sending off messages which may cause them to breakdown.