Is Social Media Secretly Ruining Your Relationships?

Take this with a pinch of salt from someone who earns a living using these tools and sites….

Our generation is totally obsessed with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, which have taken the world by storm. To be honest, what is there not to like? A virtual world where you can express your deepest thoughts, connect with old friends or simply feel important and a part of something, where’s the harm in that? It has loads of other benefits such as promoting businesses, creating a sense of unity amongst people all over the world and can be lots of fun. However, if not used carefully and with caution, things can quickly turn sour and affect your work environment, education and relationships with your partners and/or family.

It saddens me how I’ve watched these cool and trendy social networking sites damage many friendships and relationships over the years. In the real world, perception is everything and how we perceive certain things depends on the individual’s tone of voice, facial expression, eye contact and physical contact, which are all alien in the world of Twitter and Facebook. Sitting with a friend in a coffee shop where she turns around and shouts with confidence “you are one of the dumbest people I have ever met” with a cheeky smile, it is obvious that it is a mischievous joke between friends whereas such a statement similar to that in a social networking site can viewed as a direct insult and can be seen as quite offensive. What we need to understand is that something tweeted or posted on Facebook that was intended innocently may not be always be translated so to a boyfriend, girlfriend or a friend.

Due to this, you would think that people would be more selective over the things they write. Well, apparently not. After a crazy Friday night filled with drinks and adventures, guys tend to head to twitter to tweet about all the fine women and crazy things they have done. Even if it is completely innocent, unnecessary arguments and tensions are caused in relationships due to carelessness and lack of sensitivity. What tends to make it worse is that when your close friends or family members have your other half on their Facebook or Twitter profiles, they naturally will be watching every post like a hawk with sceptic eyes, where the smallest trivial thing may look like a great deceit.

It is not a surprise that Twitter and Facebook is a gossiper’s best friend, they simply need to follow the person or click ‘add as friend’ and they get all the gossips they need. Expressing your life problems and your every move makes it even easier for people to use stuff against you. These days it is obvious that women no longer need to go through their boyfriend’s phone as they did in the past because having him as a friend on a social networking site makes it much easier to snoop.

Not only can Facebook and Twitter fracture and destroy romantic relationships, it can also destroy friendships. If you tell a white lie to a friend about how you cannot come to their birthday party due to a sudden and violent case of flu, do not forget your lie and post on Twitter how you are shaking a leg at the new club opening in central London. Do not forget that you can get tagged in photos or a friend could write on your wall, exposing your whereabouts. This is a very dangerous game to play, especially with friends who have such close access to your social networking sites.

I am not saying that you cannot maintain healthy relationships with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook but one must be careful of what they expose on them.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your social networking sites whilst maintaining your privacy, friendships and relationships:

Protect your tweets – This allows you to have no limitation of what you want to express but keep in mind that interacting with a friend’s unprotected Twitter account will mean that others will be able to see the interaction between both of you.
Be my friend on Facebook – Make sure that a person must first friend you on Facebook in order to see your wall, pictures, and relationship statuses and so on, in order to protect your privacy from nosey people.
Thoughts over whereabouts – Facebook and Twitter are great for telling people your deepest thoughts and feelings but whereabouts, not so much. This is better in such a case where you may need/want to tell someone a white lie about where you were on Friday night.
Do not friend/follow frenemies, co-workers or your boyfriend’s family – Trust me, it’s easier that way.

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