When I ask my single friends how they feel about social media PDA, their answer is usually along the lines of, “It’s freaking annoying,” or “Who gives a shit?”
It’s safe to say that some single people don’t care for it, but does everybody feel the same way? Their negativity probably doesn’t stem from not having a partner; rather, it may be because they feel unhappy when they compare their lives with the lives of others.
When I asked my married and committed friends about social media-based affection, they all seemed to think that it’s okay. None of them, however, showed any visible enthusiasm about it.
Oddly, when you look at their feeds, you see various levels of social media PDA ranging from minimal *twofies in a restaurant* to downright TMI *fights, kisses, birthing videos*. But hey, to each their own, right?
Still, it’s surprising to me that they don’t immediately recommend the idea of pushing for social media PDA, because people in relationships are pretty vocal about what it takes to be a good couple. Even when it’s about kids, they usually have an opinion that is aimed to help others in the future. [Read: 8 types of annoying social media users that make you wanna scream]
Why such a marked difference in opinion?
I’m inclined to think that couples don’t see social media PDA as the be-all and end-all of their relationships, but the difference in their real-life reactions and their social media actions is striking.
Could there be a connection to how they really perceive social media PDA—agreeable, but not as something they’re particularly proud of doing?
Still, we have to look at the majority in order to get a clearer picture of what many people really think about social media PDA. You can’t take the words of a few people to get an idea of how it’s perceived.
Luckily, there are people out there who did some research in order to shed some light on the subject.
How does social media affect people who are in relationships?
Albright College asked subjects to tell them about their motivations about posting about their relationship on social media, their relationship satisfaction levels, and their personality traits.
#1 The other wall. The study found that those who were satisfied with their relationships tended to post more on their significant other’s wall. It may seem like these people are more confident about how they express themselves in the relationship, but apparently, there’s a catch.
#2 Relationship confidence. Even though these people reported that they were satisfied with their relationships, the researchers found that the confidence these people exuded were tied to their relationship status online. The verdict being, if these people broke up, those satisfaction levels will crash and burn in an epic apocalyptic meltdown, much to the entertainment of their frequent viewers. [Read: 12 things you do online that make you look pathetic]
#3 Self-esteem levels. Those who were high on neuroticism *a personality traits that favors control*, were more likely to brag about their relationships. They were also more likely to monitor their partner’s online activities. Both activities were attributed to maintaining their high self-esteem levels. If you were to take that away from them, saying they’d get upset is an extreme understatement.
#4 Oversharing on social media can also be damaging to your relationship. Fighting on your wall, conversing in your comments section, and posting photos that make other people uncomfortable are just a few examples.
#5 Too much facebook? Couples who spend a significant amount of time on Facebook everyday are more likely to experience conflict in their relationships. Facebook shows people if messages have been read, or if a person is active or not. Imagine having to monitor all that information!
#6 Talking too much. Those who posted left and right about their relationships on social media were considered the least likable. You don’t need to tell me that with research-based studies.
So what can we learn from these facts?
Even though you might not identify with the people the researchers encountered, it’s still a legitimate cause for concern. As long as people use social media for the wrong reasons, there’s no way you can improve your relationship with your partner, your friends, and even your family.
I’m not saying that everyone who engages in social media PDA is unhappy. I’m merely stating the fact that some people are using it as a way to cover up their insecurities. Basically, your view on social media PDA is not based on everyone else’s opinion of it. It’s mostly tied to how you feel about yourself.
If you really want to make a positive change in your social media habits, here are some tips that can help you get by:
#1 Focusing on the right things. Instead of focusing on your relationship status on social media to feel better about yourself, you should work on your own issues in order to develop healthy self-esteem. Your worth should not be tied to an online version of you.
#2 Think about what you want to post, not what people want to see. Don’t hesitate to post something, because you’re worried it won’t get enough likes. Post what you feel comfortable and happy posting.
#3 Don’t use social media as a weapon. Use it to spread love and happiness—seriously. Too much damage has been done by people hiding behind computer screens. Use your internet for good, not evil.
#4 If it’s not a milestone, a funny anecdote or a special moment, try not to post about it at all. Note: funny anecdotes do not mean every funny thing you and your partner say or do. Women, in particular, are guilty of this. Unless it is a real riot, keep it to yourself, or at least your real-life conversations! [Read: 9 love trends for couples that are taking the internet by storm]
How should we go about our social media activities?
If I was in a position where I could post evidence of my relationship, I think I’d prefer it if only my close friends could see. However, I am not in that position, and my views could just as easily change depending on how high or low my self-esteem is.
What I learned from the people in my life about social media PDA, however, is that there will be varied opinions. Some of those, I won’t like, but in the end it’s my prerogative to either post something very personal or something that simply shares a little bit of my life.
It’s a bit annoying, but I have to admit that some of my decisions will be based on what I hear and see from other people’s reactions. I know now not to post about every little detail, nor should I post about fights or how I’m feeling, when I have the capacity to share it with my loved one. [Read: 8 reasons why social media may be killing your relationship slowly]
The truth is that I don’t want other people to pick my relationship apart. Call me crazy, but I think that’s just asking for bad juju. I will, however, post about special moments so I can share it with the people I love—but I wouldn’t put too much stock in how it affects the people who are looking at my profile.
If I decide to post something innocuous or negative about my relationship, I understand that it would be because I’m asking for attention or sympathy. I hope I never get to that point, though, because begging for sympathy just seems a little sad. Hoping that other people might sympathize, knowing that some of them aren’t sincere and may be harboring ill feelings towards my cry for help isn’t appealing to me—or, I imagine, to you.
It probably won’t help anyway, unless I truly believe that kind words and empathy will bring me towards a better place. If not that, then I guess I’d better reel in the occasional rant because I think that will only lead to even more heartbreak and the only one to blame would be myself.
[Read: 11 things couples should stop doing on social media right away]
Is social media PDA a good thing, or a sign of insecurity? Using the statistics and facts above, you can make smart, informed decisions about what you post—and what you keep behind closed doors.
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