This week we dive into the world of social media and discuss the controversial question of whether or not this constant viewing of others’ lives online is detrimental to society. As part of exploring this issue, I created a survey to specifically look into the impact that Facebook has on relationships/dating in today’s age; The results were quite intriguing as you will soon see!
[To see the full survey find the link on the homepage]
In order to get responses, I posted the survey link on my own Facebook, explaining it’s purpose, as well as groups that I am a part of on the platform. Over two days the link was effective in gaining 39 participants of which 81.6% where female.
Majority of the participants had not found their current or past partner through Facebook however 41% said they do spend large amounts of time on social media when in the company of their significant others, although about 10% answered with a comment saying they have rules in place such as ‘no phones at meal times’ or elaborating with ‘answering a quick message or important phonecall is acceptable’.
Now for the interesting part! Over 70% of respondents said they had experienced communication issues such as misunderstanding, anger or jealousy due to the use of Facebook or other social media in the relationship, with the same amount answering that they did not think these arguments and communication issues would occur if social media was not a part of their lives.
But 36 % still remained under the impression that social networking sites such as Facebook had made a positive impact on their relationships both familial and romantic, with 49% agreeing but conceding to the fact that there are complications.
These findings corroborate with more in depth research, with an article on ‘Relationships and Facebook rituals’ stating that the networking site encourages “intimate gossip related activities that can impact upon the relationship” (Greg, 2010). The results of the research article go on to conclude that social networking sites such as Facebook bring problems to a romantic relationship that “have no offline equivalent and are something which couples would not have had to contend with before their insurgence” (Greg, 2010).
Other literature has also reported “a decrease in overall life satisfaction and a lower reported level of happiness by frequent Facebook users” (Vigil et al, 2015). However there have also been positive findings such as the relationship between acquiring ‘Facebook friends’ and increases in self-esteem and “enhanced identity formation” (Ellison et al, 2007).
In summary, social networking sites seem to have a tendency towards impacting negatively on romantic relationships which can be seen from my own research and the findings of academic literature, although there is a possible positive impact that social media has on feelings of self-worth due to your amount of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’. However this conclusion leads me to question what the impact on people’s self-esteem and well-being are when they do not have large amounts of friends/followers on their social media accounts? Well that’s a topic for a separate post but I can assume that there is research pointing towards the very detrimental effects on mental health that social media can have.
Until next time,
Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. 2007. “The benefits of Facebook “friends”: Exploring the relationship between college students’ use of online social networks and social capital”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 12, pp. 1143-1168.
Greg, Bowe B.A. Mod 2010. “Reading romance: the impact Facebook rituals can have on a romantic relationship”, Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, vol.1, no.2, pp.61-77.
Vigil, T.R & Wu, H.D. 2015, “Facebook User’s Engagement and Perceived Life Satisfaction”, Media and Communication, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 5-16.