Friend Me or You¶ll Strain Us: Understanding Negative Events That Occur over Social Networking Sites

Derek Young

A. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY y The idea of the study was to identify the interpersonal strain and other relational problems due to ³negative events´ that can cause relational strain in all types of personal relationships from Social Networking Sites. This investigation will show personal experiences by users who have gone through these negative events. Which in turn can cause interpersonal strain and problems in a relationship, and to understand this phenomenon that is Social Networking Sites (Liebert 425). The study was done in survey form with 197 participants with pencil and paper. The participants had requirement in which they had an action or experience with a partner over a SNS that had led to strain in a relationship at some point (Liebert 426-427). Many people who use SNS¶s can experience the negative events or factors of the website such as problems with self-esteem, or mental health problems, even the overall well-being of a person. The idea of a SNS is to ability to have existing relationships online and the formation of new ones through the SNS itself. SNS¶s are on the rise at a rapid pace and are a new way for human being to interact and communicate with one another. This study would be interesting to see how many people have used and experienced SNS¶s and the relationships that they have affected.

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B. HYPOTHESIS OR RESEARCH QUESTIONS y ³Gaining a better understanding of negative events that participate strain in relationships may provide better insight into the potential deliberate or unintentional harms occurring on SNS¶s´ (Liebert 425-426).

C. VARIABLES AND MEASURES:

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Denied or ignored Friend Request. (2) Deletion of message or identification.(3) Ranking disparities on Top Friend Applications. (4) Personal surveillance of profiles. (5) Ignored question or remark. (6) Disparaging remarks posted on message boards. (7) Gossip discovered on third party¶s message board. (8) Restricted access to a friend¶s page. (9) Removed as a friend. (10) Not allowed to join a group/created undesirable group about a person. SNS¶s cause people to think straight towards the social norms of the offline world and relate directly to the online world through SNS¶s. People relate that to life on SNS¶s and think that when people do not accept their friend request right away or un-tag themselves from photos as a sign of dis-respect which causes people to feel bad about themselves. Interpersonal strains developed on SNS¶s can cause feelings of relational damage, worry, or distrust. Strain occurs in a relationship when an un-desirable event occurs on a SNS that begins the user to feel damaged. The author uses the friending process, involvement through messages, and how much the participant uses social media to see how SNS¶s can lead to social problems. Each of these three can be negative events that lead into relational strain between partners. The results and feedback of these surveys will show how many different people had felt emotional strain or relational strain due to SNS¶s. With many different people have less exposure or experience to SNS¶s the reaction may have varied caused by the negative events on SNS¶s. People may have felt different feelings or emotions dealing with their specific relationship that was damaged on a SNS. The participants were asked to responded to 10 questions dealing with negative events that occur over SNS¶s.

D. PARTICIPANTS: y 197 college students were gathered from large universities. Both genders were evaluated with 85 males and 112 females. The range of age was 18-43 with a mean of the age of 24 (Liebert 426). The participants had to have previous experience with SNS¶s. Also they must have had an experience or a behavior perpetrated by a partner over SNS¶s that led to some type of relational strain (Liebert 427). The participants were asked to responded to three open ended questions before the survey was done. The participants were asked to respond to three questions. (1) To describe the nature of the relationship with the person mentioned in the opened ended response. (2) how long participants knew the person from the open ended response. (3) Evaluated whether the

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participant knew the person described in the open ended response as an offline conflict (Liebert 427). The most common relationships that occurred were romantic partners or family members. The participants were asked 10 different questions dealing with negative events over social networking sites. All the questions were open ended and the answers varied from length but were approximated to about 75 words each about eight lines of text (Liebert 427).

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RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS The results from this study will show the better understanding of negative events on SNS¶s that will lead to interpersonal strain or relational strain. Friend negotiation and the exchange of messages formed the basis for the most commonly experienced negative events (Liebert 430). Participation of the user on SNS also affected the results. There is a key part of involvement online. Whether a person does not sign on a lot and the lack of time between messages sent, friend requests, or comments on a message board will introduce interpersonal strain. The three activities implicated by the most common negative events were friend negotiation process, message construction, and ranking disparities (Liebert 430). Also people differ on the interpretation of friends online or on a SNS. Some use it to mean mere contacts, others only use friends to refer to people they met offline, and there are those who apply the term to only close friends (Liebert 430). There users of SNS¶s are setting themselves up for the relational strain that comes from offline relationships. Some people take the actions or behaviors on SNS¶s more important or significant than others. This causes different actions or feelings in the offline world to be affected. The user may have not meant for the person to feel sadness or distrust by their actions but this is how the negative events of SNS¶s work. Limitations of this study are the use of only university students that limit the generalizations that can be made about typology of negative events on SNS¶s developed in research (Liebert 431). Future Investigations should include a more representative sample for exploring these negative encounters (Lieber 431).

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F. CRITIQUE:

The study of social media is always going to be one in the near future that many researchers are going to look into. With so many people being involved in SNS¶s this study was a very good idea. The strengths of this study are the way that the researcher had conducted. The

researchers knew that a large group of university students would be the most likely to use SNS¶s. Gathering information from that age group was a very good idea. They started out with open ended questions that narrowed down the top 10 negative actions that bothered people on SNS¶s. So going into the research they knew what they were looking for in the results. One strength was that they used an interpersonal relationship to the participants. This way the results were shown about a negative action that affected the participants in an important manner. Also knowing how many people use social media or SNS¶s this would be research that many would like to see what the results were. One weakness that stuck out was the fact that only university students were conducted upon. Many adults who are starting to use SNS¶s may look at the actions or behaviors much different than young people. Many younger people may not worry about the offline relationships as much because they are already so used to and have more experience than older adults. The internal validity of the study was how accurate the results came out due to the questions asked. The research came out with strong results about the topic that they had researched. The research that they had come up with was by them and was not affected by any outside source for information outside of their participants. The study was important to Communication because of how important and popular SNS¶s have become. Social media has grown tremendously and only continues to grow. It is important that we see the way people communicate online and offline dealing with SNS¶s. Out of this research we are able to see the way people interact and deal with interpersonal emotions that come from negative events due to SNS¶s. With so many studies being done on the use of social media towards the public this study went in deep to see what the negative side of social media was. The researchers decided to see emotional side of social media and how it affected the

public. As many people use SNS¶s a lot of the people are just putting up the positive things and never expressing the other emotions that are felt dealing with SNS¶s. The fact is that many people do feel those relational strains that come from negative events that happen on SNS¶s. Now people may not express them online but their relationships offline may be affected by whatever action or behavior happened online. There is now research that proves how many people differing in age and gender react to those negative events that happen online. The study itself was not only looking at the way we use SNS¶s and how they affect people¶s lives but the emotional side of the use of SNS¶s.

References

Tokunaga, R.S. (2011). Friend Me or You¶ll Strain Us: Understanding Negative Events That Occur over Social Networking Sites. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Doi:10.1089/cyber.2010.0144

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