You’ve just broken up and you’re committed to making this as clean a break as possible.
Social media is about to ruin your plans in a big, big way.
A study published in Information, Communication, and Society surveyed hundreds of young people accustomed to ‘electronic surveillance’ (their phrase). Or, if you prefer, call them digital natives. Anyway, the participants answered questions about their Facebook usage, time spent on social media, and how they use Facebook.
When it comes to Facebook users and relationships, three things cause significant distress. Firstly, 88% of Facebook users admit to creeping their exes. According to researchers, “Even those who did not actively attempt to view an ex-partner’s Facebook profile found themselves inadvertently doing so when content the ex-partner posted appeared in their news feeds.”
The next biggest source of distress is the ‘Relationship Status’ feature. Most participants said that changing it was a source of stress, with half saying that they’d been asked about a breakup after changing it to ‘single’.
The third biggest source of distress was shared Facebook content posted by an ex. Wall posts, status updates, pictures, voluminous messages—all that relationship detritus sticks around the digital world forever, tempting people into over-analysing old wall posts and the like.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: when you break up, break up all the way, social media included. And for the record, there are a few rules about being in a relationship on social media too.