Twitter makes our relationships shorter


You've heard it before: the modern world is criminally reducing our attention spans. Gchat replaced email, texting replaced calling, and thousands of young folk can only write in abbrev. And, yet, I may or may not have just paused to send a quick email after writing that sentence — which is to say, there's truth in cliche. 

An OKCupid study of almost a million of their members has found that frequent Twitter users have shorter relationships than those who don't microblog — around five to ten percent shorter. It'd be a conflation of correlation and causality to assume that Twitter actually shortens people's attention spans (a conflation I admittedly made in that headline — though to be fair, "Twitter usage correlates positively with relationship brevity" didn't really pop!). 

It is, nonetheless, interesting. Are people who Tweet all the time too narcissistic to commit to another person? Are they Tweeting twenty-five times a day for work, and just really busy? Or perhaps the most convincing (and least satisfying) of all — are they just younger? I'm sure that more twenty-year olds than forty-year olds tweet daily, and I'm sure they have shorter relationships too.

Whatever the cause, though, the fact remains that we have shorter attention spans and shorter relationships than we've ever had before. A fact you should ponder, if you managed to make it all the way to the end of this post.   

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Commentarium (5 Comments)

Apr 19 11 - 7:05pm

Or are they getting dumped sooner for constantly tweeting during dates?

Apr 19 11 - 8:05pm

Perhaps Twitter users are too flighty! …Anyone? …cricketcricket….

Apr 19 11 - 10:02pm
Secret Character

I was never down with the Twitter phenomenon. I think it does feed into a degree of narcacissm and detachment. It seems like a big popularity contest to me. As matter of fact I've recently deactivated my Facebook in hopes of reintroducing some productivity back into my life. 2 weeks in and the effect has been dramatic. I'm completing things I've put off for ever, I'm more physically active, and I'm slowly learning how to read again! Not only that but my relationships have actually taken on more substance. It's hard to imagine how life was like before this world of instantaniety but when you turn it off the precious commodity that time is becomes blaringly apparent.

Apr 20 11 - 12:44pm

Let's all do more of this.

Apr 20 11 - 10:16am
gyp the blood

Twitter and texting are also apparently causing our younger generation to lose the ability to speak extemporaneously-organizing and generating thoughts in excess of 140 characters at a clip is apparently getting really hard. So maybe it's more about the inability to properly generate sufficient chemistry on a dates by talking out of your ass about Mad Men for extended periods of time.