There can be no denying social media has had a profound effect on the way we interact in the early part of the 21st century. From sharing photographs on Instagram to making instant comments on absolutely any subject on Twitter, a huge percentage of us regularly give in to the temptation of engaging with our friendship circle; and far beyond. This instant access has had many effects on other aspects of our lives, not least during any quest to find love online. So what are three ways in which social media can impact real life relationships?
Social media can create a distorted image
Social media can introduce an element of flippancy into real life relationships. In the online environment, we get used to conducting conversations from the privacy of our homes, or when are we are alone with our smart devices in some random location. Twitter, especially, is a social media platform which can give users an unnaturally elevated impression of their power to convey opinions at their fingertips. Brash comments are often made which the person instantly regrets. When you are sitting at your keyboard you can be much more to the point in your exchanges, gaining confidence to engage in flirtatious behavior or making suggestive remarks.
This is quite different to connecting with someone in a face-to-face situation. Social media can give a false sense of your own personality. When digital contact is transferred to the real world, there can sometimes be a sense of anti-climax for the person has been used to being on the receiving end of a series of quips and fun remarks.
Social media can create a strong impression
One key difference between online and offline relationships is the increased ability to develop a real sense of chemistry via social media. When you are engaging with someone you are interested in romantically, sending regular messages on your favorite social media outlets, you are investing so much of your personal time in getting to know them better in a relaxed atmosphere.
The type of outlet you choose to connect with also goes a long way towards influencing your real life relationship. People who follow each other on Twitter will make succinct connections, whereas Facebook grants more space to compose your messages. However you reach out on social media, when you eventually do get together in an offline situation, you’ll have a rounded idea what this person is going to be like as they will already have revealed so much of their personality.
We can leave a considerable digital footprint
One of the most obvious aspects of social media has been the way it has created elaborate networks. People now have any number of platforms on which they can be active. Assuming you’ve got to know someone’s real name and some basic aspects of their lives, you can delve into their own social media to get more background info. Facebook will give you access to all sorts of activity streams, enabling you to gain a picture of someone’s personality via photographs, where you can see how they interact in social settings. You can appraise the type of friends they have, and get a handle of their hobbies. Instagram will allow you to gain a visual perspective on their likes and dislikes.
What are the ethics of ‘spying’ on someone in this way? Can it truly be likened to espionage when all this information is in the public domain anyway? For the most part, it’s more a fun way of being nosey! The extent to which you allow it to inform your opinion in your real life relationship is up to you.