Twitter May Bring The World Together, But Is It A Relationship Killer?
April 7, 2014

Twitter May Bring The World Together, But Is It A Relationship Killer?

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook may be bringing the world closer together, but are they driving us apart on a more personal level?

According to a new report from a doctoral researcher at the University of Missouri, Twitter use is directly related to the risk of infidelity and breakup of a romantic relationship. More specifically, Twitter-related conflict typically precludes negative relationship outcomes.

Study author Russell Clayton said the study was inspired by a similar previous study he had conducted with Facebook. That study found a high level of Facebook use predicted Facebook-related conflict and negative outcomes.

In the study, Clayton surveyed more than 580 Twitter users of all ages. He asked volunteers questions concerning their Twitter use, including how often they login in, tweet, send direct messages, and reply to followers. The Missouri researcher also asked if any conflict arose between participants’ and their current or former partners as a result of Twitter use, and if so – how much.

Clayton discovered that the more often a participant reported being active on Twitter, the more inclined they were to encounter Twitter-related conflict with their partner, which then considerably predicted adverse relationship results such as being unfaithful, separation and divorce.

In Clayton’s previous study, he found that Facebook-related conflict and negative outcomes were higher among couples in newer relationships of 36 months or less. The same effect was not seen in the Twitter study, which was recently published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

“I found it interesting that active Twitter users experienced Twitter-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes regardless of length of romantic relationship,” Clayton said. “Couples who reported being in relatively new relationships experienced the same amount of conflict as those in longer relationships.”

He added that people in a relationship should limit their Twitter usage if conflicts with a partner erupt.

“Although a number of variables can contribute to relationship infidelity and separation, social networking site usage, such as Twitter and Facebook use, can be damaging to relationships,” Clayton said. “Therefore, users should cut back to moderate, healthy levels of Twitter use if they are experiencing Twitter or Facebook – related conflict.”

“Some couples share joint social networking site accounts to reduce relationship conflict, and there are some social networking site apps, such as the 2Life app, that facilitates interpersonal communication between partners,” he added.

Another study on Twitter published last week touted a way that the social networking can have a positive impact on someone’s life – helping migraine sufferers reach out in the process of coping with their pain.

“As technology and language evolve, so does the way we share our suffering,” said principal investigator Alexandre DaSilva, assistant professor and director of the Headache and Orofacial Pain Effort at University of Michigan School of Dentistry. “It’s the first known study to show the instant and broad impact of migraine attacks on modern patients’ lives by decoding manually each one of their individual attack-related tweets.”

The team found that migraine-related tweets were overwhelmingly from females and tended to get posted around 10 a.m. EST.