In this age of internet sharing, nothing is more ubiquitous than the Facebook photo status update. But a new University of Birmingham study on Facebook sharing has revealed that rather than bringing you closer to your Facebook friends, photo updates might actually be directly responsible for alienating you from them. Making them (*gasp*) unfriend you, even.
Dr David Houghton, a lecturer in marketing at Birmingham Business School and lead author of the report, said: “Our research found that those who frequently post photographs on Facebook risk damaging real-life relationships. This is because people, other than very close friends and relatives, don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves.
No surprise there – gratuitous selfies are off-putting to just about everyone. But did you know that those snapshots of you and your friends having SO! MUCH! FUN! together also aren’t doing you any favors in the friendship department?
The study…found that partners who shared more photographs of events led to a decrease in intimacy. Similarly, a close friend who shared more photographs of friends could also expect to it to have a negative impact on the quality of that relationship.
Interesting, right? The upshot here seems to be that Facebook friends don’t like to see photos of you with other friends, because they’re not involved in the photographed scenario and perhaps feel left out, or are just plain not interested in what you’re doing with other people. Shocking, I know.
Curiously, family seems somewhat exempt from all this Facebook photo aversion:
The report states: “Partners sharing more photographs of family is positively related to support, whereas partners sharing more photographs of friends is related negatively to intimacy.”
The takeaway? Share photos of your kids, parents, and spouse (or significant other) freely on Facebook, but lay off the selfies and photos of friends. Remember that your photos are being shared with people who are interested in *you* specifically, not your broader social network and friends generally, and choose what you select to post on Facebook with that sense of audience in mind. If you don’t, you may end up with fewer friends and a smaller social network than you started with.
Image source: Facebook
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