I’ve often marveled at how tone-deaf my friends’ tweets can seem—something about the limitations of those 140 characters, perhaps? Too much striving to be witty in too small a space? So I really can’t say I was surprised at a new study indicating that those who can’t start or end the day without checking their Twitter feeds could find themselves with a lot more free time in which to do so. According to the study’s author, the more active you are on Twitter, the more likely your relationship will blow up.
Russell Clayton, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, surveyed 581 Twitterers about their frequency of usage as well as about relationship woes stemming from their Twitter use. The survey showed that the more active a participant was on Twitter, the more likely he or she was to report “negative relationship outcomes,” including cheating and divorce.
In a previous study of the effects of Facebook use on relationship conflict, Clayton found that problems were more frequent in newer relationships—those of less than three years’ duration—than in longer-standing ones. There was no such curve among Twitter users, he says: “Couples who reported being in relatively new relationships experienced the same amount of conflict as those in longer relationships.” His advice—and it applies to both Facebook and Twitter—is to cut back on usage, share joint social networking with your lover, and/or try a social-networking-site app, like 2Life, designed to ease communication between partners.
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