Social networking sites are great for maintaining and renewing relationships. But Facebook and other sites can also lead to shattered relationships. According to a new study, the three most-common negative experiences are:
- Ignoring or denying "friend" requests
- Deleting public messages or identification tags
- Seeing a Top Friends list on which one doesn't appear or is ranked lower than expected
Robert S. Tokunaga of the University of Arizona studied 197 college students concerning their social networking experiences. More than one-quarter of the students said they had been denied or been ignored regarding a "friend" request and just under 25% had someone delete a public message or identification tag.
All three of the major negative experiences are ones that can be found only in the world of social networking, he pointed out. In real life, one does not walk up to another person and ask to "friend" him or her. Experience in social interactions in the real world often doesn't translate to the virtual world. "People using social networking sites are unable to apply their own knowledge of social norms in offline settings to the online domain," Tokunaga explained. Even the word "friend" means vastly different things to different people in the social networking world.