Facebook immense influence on individuals cut across all demographic statures, with its impact being felt on various aspects of people’s lives. In line with the impacts that Facebook has on people, this essay expounds on the effect that Facebook has on relationships in general in consideration of concepts such as strong-weak ties, self-presentation, and compression management. Also, the effects it has on the relationship of couples such as jealousy, oversharing on the platform, loss of communication, addiction to Facebook, and susceptibility to infidelity.
The advent of social media has dynamically changed the communication landscape as it is known and that of which has been witnessed and experienced in equal measure. The term “social media” loosely stands for the various online platforms that people get to interact on, that it includes several applications and platforms such as Facebook. Social media has brought people closer and more connected than ever before. However, with the upside to it come to its disadvantages. This perspective essay critically analyses ways in which Facebook affects relationships and in perspective, the relationship of married couples and instances that lead to straining of their relationships, and the effect of social network streams aspects has on relationships.
The general outlook and effects to which Facebook and social network streams have had on relationships and continue to do are encompassed concepts of which other aspects draw their meaning from.
Concepts that Influence Relationships on Social Networks
The flow of general communication in social network streams does rely on the concept of strong-weak ties. This essentially means that people got a high tendency and need to connect with former classmates, workmates, members of the family, and a similar profession (Chatterjee, 2017). This cluster of people does engage actively and constantly between them, their association on the platform consists of a steady flow of interaction, and exchange of information. This defines the concept of strong ties, which predicates the similarity between that set of people on the online platform.
The other hand of weak ties includes people who are not so familiar with each other albeit still friends or rather engage in various online platforms (Chatterjee, 2017). This set does have a low rate of communication between them since there is little similarity in aspects of their lives. Therefore, it proves to be hard to initiate conversation or share information, because of being oblivious to areas of common interests that might be a stimulus to the association with weak ties. Those, who constantly use and disseminate new information that they acquire in interaction with the strong ties at any given moment until they find fellow strong ties and cease to be weak ties.
The mechanism to this interaction and how it affects relationships is that weak ties act as a connector in between the strong ties on both ends who may be from different arrays (Kavianpour, 2013). The sharing of information between strong ties is quite high in comparison to their low numbers, which affects the chances of sharing the information below. This is distinct from the weak link composition, whose numbers are high but very low sharing of information (Kavianpour, 2013). Therefore, it emphasises the point of strong ties overseeing sharing information while the weak ties spread notions of the information being shared by the strong ties without full knowledge of what it is.
Online relationships rely on one basic factor that in most cases determines the viability of a given interaction eventually culminating into a successful relationship. The factor is self-presentation which consists of self-disclosure as its main aspect because through self-disclosure will determine the success of an individual self-presentation (Gibbs, 2006). Self-disclosure on social on network stream involves the following underpinnings:
Honesty is core to reasons as to why an individual could want an online relationship with a prospective partner on any given platform (Ma, 2016). Opening-up about the background, questions that are likely to be asked in the online conversations does play a major role in determining whether a given conversation can lead to a successful relationship.
The amount of information that is intended to be shared and of which is discussed at a given time in an online dating platform has an impact on a judgment about the suitability of a prospective partner. Because a lot of information shared all at once at the first instant of communication, it is easy to tell about undesirable qualities in a person and that which can affect the relationship adversely.
The motives of having or desiring a relationship are critical to its formation. This is because the intent of a person will determine the type of relationship that can foster from the online dating conversation, on any social networking platform. Individuals of similar intent can easily form a relationship that can grow successfully unlike having different intentions which makes it hard for partners to click.
Valency shows to what degree the information shared is of good nature that is positive, neutral, or negative. Therefore, the valence of posts on social networks does determine and affect how the relationship will develop, as more intimate and negative information that is shared in posts lead to the falter in the strength of any given relationship (Orben, 2017). The interested potential partner perception of such posts influences their decision of whether to make the relationship work or not based on the impression that the posts imply. In effect, a lot of intimate or negative posts will make the initial appealing nature of a self-discloser to wane and their interests in them too. Valency has an immense role play in determining whether a relationship will work as reading posts online has the same effect on real-life interactions that decide on the formation of relationship pathways (Orben, 2017).
To be noted from the aspects of self-disclosure is that, in most cases, honesty does harm the formation of any typical relationship. This is because opening-up reveals more to a person of interest that could be too much to handle and therefore could be a turnoff in reverse. Honesty should be carefully implemented into the online dating discussions and in opening-up and talking freely (Dunbar, 2018).
The aspects of self-disclosure as listed, act as an eventual determinant to the success of an individual in self-presentation and eventually dating. From the aspects, a potential partner will decide if a person is interested or can fulfil their needs. By aligning their interest, individuals engaged in online dating may then decide to shift from the online platform to real life, face to face interactions. This is a point that gets influenced by the various factors and aspects of online engagements as elaborated in continuation.
Queryable compression about social networks streaming that dynamically changes involves mapping on a graph the time-evolving sets that stand for individuals as nodes and edges as relationships over a duration. The ways and of which the graphs are represented in the individual data framework will determine the type of data that can be easily be got from them (Butler, 2018). This is in effect helps in influencing decisions and determining the success of a given relationship from data acquired from the queryable compression graph. All of which are then analysed from the social networks of an individual that eventually determine the probability of a given relationship to work.
Analysis of the concepts that affect relationships online curates the groundwork to which Facebook affects the relationship and which are elaborated.
How Facebook Affects Relationships
Facebook has been of incredible help in ensuring fast, efficient, and more connected communication between people all over the world. However, it has its undoing and through study, it is found several factors that can bring down a relationship and cause severe strain to individuals. The factors and instances are as detailed:
Facebook is structured to make things posted on its platform to look more inviting, better, beautiful than what and how they are. Users tend to exaggerate their captions and posts to make them livelier, in a bid to outshine other people and for likes and comments. Therefore, when it comes to relationships, couples who do a post on Facebook do tend to exhibit more than a necessary public display of affection to their friends and the world for validation (Desmarais, 2009). This in effect is to show how such a couple is better than the rest of others and in the way of human nature, is that people covet on the good that is displayed without considerations of the sacrifices underpinned to get a good relationship. Thus, jealousy gets in, like other couples who view the given example of perfect relationship posts on Facebook begin to desire for such an arrangement with their couple partners. Jealousy will drive envious couples to achieve perfection to showcase to the world oblivious to the point that there are no perfect relationships as exhibited on the platform (Desmarais, 2009). In the end, jealousy will seriously lead to the deterioration of a relationship. Since as all things will be done to appease and deceive other Facebook users of the perfection of their relationship, overlooking critical issues that could be addressed in the couple relationship.
Oversharing on the Platform
One of the main undoing’s of Facebook in society and social media, in general, is that of people sharing more than necessary to their friends and the world. The notion of sharing a lot of private content with other users is of making people see how better their lives are in comparison (Kim, 2017). Therefore, each post leads to more information being shared and revealed by a given user, to make their posts more eye-catching and attractive. This is the same case that applies to disgruntled couples who feel the need to make the world believe that they are doing just fine, will engage in such activities. Couples will share a little over the top of their daily lives to convince Facebook users and friends how the relationship is working well. In most cases, this includes intimate aspects of their relationship that may not sit well with their partners (Kim, 2017). As the cliché statement goes, the internet never forgets. Most of the intimate and private life aspects posted by couples who overshare are never quite off the platform even when deleted by the user that can later haunt them. Oversharing destroys the fabric of relationships as it is akin to including other people in the couple’s lives, who know and follow everything about such a couple (Jin, 2015). This can lead to loss of harmony and connection between couples since their urgency to show the world what they have prioritises over the need for privacy.
Loss of Communication
Social media is designed to make a person or a user to that effect get constantly engaged on the various platforms it encompasses. There is a feel-good aspect to being consistently active on the said platforms and in this case Facebook, which hooks its users who eventually end up getting addicted to it (Bazarova, 2013). In this scenario, Facebook occupies a significant space in a user’s mind, which makes checking Facebook posts a priority over their daily life activities. Prioritising trivial issues such as constantly checking Facebook posts all day long and being constantly on the platform, engaging other users and to entertain them by posts, does put a strain on couple relationships. Prioritising Facebook in such a relationship drives a wedge in a case example of a couple of daily communications and associations (Bazarova, 2013). The integral feature of ensuring a successful relationship is through active communication between the partners but with Facebook taking overactive communication, leads to the destruction of such a relationship. Addicted couples check other users’ posts and account neglecting their relationship and within no time, cracks begin to appear ultimately leading to relationship failure.
People tend to believe that addiction is only about drugs and other instances of life but not social media and Facebook. What individuals do not know, is that the act of daily engaging and checking the online platforms is what addiction is all about. The engineering to the creation of the social media platforms is to make people have a good feeling each time they are logged in (Hand, 2013). The feel-good sensation, dopamine is highly addictive especially if there is a short cut to achieving it. Therefore, Facebook offering to satisfactorily cater to individuals’ dopamine shots daily leads to their eventual addiction. In consideration of couples constantly on Facebook, the dopamine effect strains their relationship and may lead to its end. Because the couple will seek to get their short-lived feel-good sensation from Facebook each time, neglecting their partners who should be the ones who make the other feel-good (Dunbar, 2018). So, with Facebook taking over one of the core functionalities of a relationship which to make each other happy, a partner will cease to be of use and importance to others. Since one can easily feel good by just logging into Facebook, it undermines the reason for having a partner for that matter.
Susceptibility to Infidelity
It is by design that Facebook enables people to get closer and easily in touch, as it scans a person’s contacts to suggest friends follow. Coupled with the point of its obscurity, it will have relationship partners engage in infidelity and other extramarital affairs at any given opportunity (Dunbar, 2018). People’s perspective about Facebook is that it has a cloak of invisibility, therefore encourages them to further consider engaging in such activities. Partners who get to be friends with their exes on the platform can decide to rekindle their past flame, which could seriously undermine a relationship. Similarly, a partner who is not satisfied with the relationship can easily find an opportunity to cheat, in consideration of the numerous friends of interest one may have access to on the platform. When caught, it leads to loss of trust and faith in such partners, and worse it makes recovery after an affair to be challenging. Since still engaging others on the platform while trying to recover is comparable to drug addiction relapse. Because the opportunities to cheat will continually avail themselves and being that one is in recovery makes it hard to ignore such dispositions.
Social media and especially Facebook have diversified and eased communication without doubt as almost entire populations are engaged in different platforms of social media. Albeit the advantages to social network streaming are many the downsides to it are catastrophic, with an elaboration of how Facebook affects relationships and addictions. Precaution should be taken in its use.
Bazarova, N., Taft, J., Choi, H., Cosley, D. (2013). Managing impressions and relationships on Facebook: Self-presentational and relational concerns revealed through the analysis of language style. Language and Social Psychology, 32(2), 121-141.
Butler, B., Matook, S. (2018). Social Media and Relationships. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Chatterjee, A., Nelson, M. (2017). Queryable compression on streaming social networks. Big Data, 10, 8-12.
Desmarais, S., Christofides, E., Muise, A. (2009). More Information than you ever wanted: Does Facebook brings out the green-eyed monster of jealousy? Cyberpsychology and behaviour, 12(4), 441-444.
Dunbar, R., Sutcliffe, A., Binder, J. (2018). Activity in social media and intimacy in social relationships. Computers in human behaviour, 85,227-235.
Gibbs, J., Ellison, N., Heino, R. (2006). Self-Presentation in Online Personals: The Role of Anticipated Future Interaction, Self-Disclosure, and Perceived Success in Internet Dating. Communication Research, 33(2), 152-177.
Hand, M., Thomas, D., Buboltz, W., Munkhsanaa, E. (2013). Facebook and Romantic Relationships: Intimacy and couple satisfaction associated with online social network use. Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking, 16(1), 8-13.
Jin, C. (2015). The role of Facebook users’ self-systems in generating social relationships and social capital effects. New media and society, 17(4), 501-519.
Kavianpour, S., Shanmugam, B. (2013). Differences between role of strong ties and weak ties in information diffusion on social network sites. Advanced Informatics School Malaysia, 10, 4-7.
Kim, A., Hu, X., Wilder, D., Siwek, N. (2017). The Facebook Paradox: Effects of Facebooking on Individuals’ Social Relationships and Psychological Well-Being. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2-4.
Ma, X., Hancock, J., Naaman, M. (2016). Anonymity, intimacy and self-disclosure in social media. Human factors in computing systems, 3857-3869. Orben, A., Dunbar, R. (2017). Social media and relationship development: The effect of valence and intimacy of posts. Computers in Human Behaviour, 73,489