People who are active on Twitter are more likely to get involved in the types of confrontations that may eventually lead to infidelity and divorce, according to a study published online in the journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
The study surveyed 581 Twitter users of all ages, gauging "active Twitter use" by answers to questions about how often they log into Twitter and tweet, how often they reply to tweets, direct message users, and scroll through the Twitter timeline.
"If high amounts of Twitter use does, indeed, lead to high amounts of Twitter-related conflict (i.e., arguments pertaining to a partner's Twitter use, etc.) among romantic partners, it is plausible to speculate that such conflict could lead to unfavorable relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup, or divorce," Russell B. Clayton, the study's author and doctoral student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, concluded. And while a previous analysis conducted by Clayton found Facebook-related conflict was more detrimental to relationships that lasted three years or less, Clayton's Twitter study claims Twitter-related conflict occurs regardless of duration.
The findings have several limitations. The survey was promoted via the researcher's Twitter account and The Huffington Post's Twitter account, so the sample size skewed towards people who were following those accounts. Data may also be skewed because participants knew they were answering questions for a study about Twitter use and relationship outcomes.
Incidentally, a recent TIME article found that some men are more likely to share their feelings on social networks than with their significant others because while they're not ready to share certain thoughts with their partners, they post them online because they want "someone" to see them. Psychologists say these men, who tend to experience social anxiety, may also share these insights online because they are afraid of facing blowback in real life.
But there may be hope. More and more, love begins on social networks like Facebook, according to a new analysis. And a Pew Research Internet Project report published in February says 41% of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships feel online conversations have brought them closer together, with 23% of them say they have used "digital tools" to resolve an argument they were having trouble fixing in person. That said, the Pew findings also found "young adults are more likely to report tension in their relationships over technology use," especially if they think their significant other is distracted or spending too much time online.
"Some couples share joint social networking site accounts to reduce relationship conflict," Clayton said in a news release, citing 2life, a private messaging app designed for couples. Maybe the preschool adage "sharing is caring" makes a good point?