Sharing information on social media can harm your relationship but not if you include your partner in the post
A series of five studies at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Kansas found that sharing information online can do more harm than good to romantic relationships.
They compared how posting personal information online affected intimacy and satisfaction in online and offline contexts.
They looked at romantic relationships and friendships comparing when the person posted just about themselves rather than the relationship as a whole.
The studies found that when one person frequently shares personal information with large groups on social media, this has a negative impact on their partner.
The partner could feel left out or see themselves as less special.
Intimacy and satisfaction
“On the other hand, when you include a significant other in your post, perhaps as confirming a relationship status online or posting a photo together, we found that it counters the negative effects of online disclosure, increasing the feelings of intimacy and satisfaction,” said Omri Gillath, a professor of psychology at KU who co-authored the study.
“This validates the relationship, and a partner likely would see their significant other’s post as caring and inclusive.”
Friendship not affected
The researchers found that friendships, however, were not affected by overly personal posts.
“For many of us, sharing our feelings and daily experiences on social media is one of the main ways we stay in contact with friends and family,” said Dr Juwon Lee of Carnegia Mellon.
“Because of this cultural shift from face-to-face or phone conversations, it’s important that we understand how our usage of these technologies affect our personal relationships.
“But it’s important to know the full picture, and understand that sometimes sharing can be bad for you.”
The paper, “Effects of Self- and Partner’s Online Disclosure on Relationship Intimacy and Satisfaction,” is published in the journal PLOS ONE.