232 Influence of Social Media

Based on research by Sprecher, Susan (2011), written by Mara Rowcliffe, MS.

The opinions of family and friends have an impact on our romantic relationships. But how exactly are they influential?

How might your social network positively influence your relationship development and continuation? Dr. Susan Sprecher from Illinois State University examined social network influences from the perspective of a network’s actual users. She asked university students to complete a survey about a positive or negative relationship they have in their social group about which they felt strong.

The majority believed they had influence on their own relationship’s outcome and attempted to influence the relationship. But those in positive relationships and who made more attempts believed they influenced the relationship more through their network.

Individuals who talked about their romantic relationships on their social network with friends and relatives were more likely to agree they had talked positively about, said they liked the person, expressed pleasure in and praised the relationship they were developing in hopes of having their network encourage their partners to continue the relationship.

Experienced users believe they have less influence on persons they do not get along with. Thus in your social network, focus your energy on being positive towards the relationships you wish to encourage.


Sprecher, S. (2011). The influence of social networks on romantic relationships: Through the lens of the social network. Personal Relationships, 18(4), 630-644.

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