With over 200 million users, Twitter is one of the largest and most popular social networking sites. With this type of major influence, Twitter has be subject to a number of studies on how it influencing individuals in their everyday lives. Recently, numerous articles have been published that talks about how active Twitter users tend to have shorter relationships. What's the real story behind this?
Both Mashable and Gizmodo published articles about Twitter's possible negative effects on your love life. Ok Cupid, an online dating service, recently performed a study on how romantic relationships do not last as long for the active Twitter user. Out of 833,987 Ok Cupid members, the majority who actively tweeted had shorter relationships. In addition, the problem continued to get worse with age. The study also examined that, "The average relationship for an 18-year-old that uses Twitter is about nine months." This is compared to an average of nine and a half months for 18 year olds who do not tweet.
Ok Cupid's founder, Christian Rudder's has said that, "People who Tweet live their life in shorter bursts. Is this true? I have to believe it's very situational. I tweet a lot. Okay, I tweet too much, but it doesn't mean I am going to break up with my boyfriend because I happen to spontaneously updated my Twitter while I am bored in class. In addition, nine months versus nine and a half months? Two weeks isn't that big of a deal when it comes to dating someone. I don't think this is a really rational argument. The headline was more appealing than the actual research results.
Gizmodo makes an excellent point in there article. What do we want from relationships? Generally something that is mutual, loving, happy, and easy. What is Twitter on the other hand? Gizmodo states, "Twitter is, for the most part, the antithesis of these things—unidirectional, cold, and vain." Perhaps they are right. Twitter for the most part is very vain. According to one study, "pointless babble" makes up 40% of tweets each day. Maybe Twitter is making us more self-indulged and consumed in ourselves. I can't speak on behalf of anyone else, but I know I don't want to be in a relationship with someone who is only concerned about their own well-being (as possibly their Twitter's well-being).
Overall, I guess I am sort of surprised by this study (and let down at the same time). I was expecting a more "drastic" difference in relationship lengths. When I first read the headline I got a little nervous. I was hoping that I wouldn't be another person that made this statistic true (note to self: don't believe in self-fulfilling prophecies). At the end of the day, though, I am going to keep tweeting. Stats are stats, this is real life.