21st Century Realtionships

Now that social media is so prominent is our lives is there a possibility for people to maintain and be satisfied with online relationships? It can be argued that online relationships do not measure up to real world relationships in which you are actually in the presence  of someone. This argument is typically supported by the claim that physically being with someone stimulates more intimacy and fluent conversation. I argue  that this is not necessarily true and that online social platforms do a great job at facilitating what a real life relationship is like. Many of the attributes of social platforms work to satisfy the many variables of relationship satisfaction such as similarity, commitment, intimacy, trust, attributional confidence, and communication satisfaction. Attributes such as being able to communicate in real time, and the text bubbles that appear with someone is typing facilitate the natural back and forth of a face to face communication. Posting pictures of yourself on social media platforms facilitates intimacy. Profiles that characterize a person, and lists there likes and dislikes confirm similarity and attributional confidence and lastly, openly committing to a person on a social media platform ,like with Facebook’s relationship status feature, satisfies commitment. These are only a few examples of attributes that facilitate real human contact. Therefore, romantic relationships can actually thrive online. I have found a study that supports my thesis by an assistant professor at the Bryant University and an associate professor at the University of Nevada.

A study was conducted on people in online romantic relationships by Traci Anderson (PhD, University of Oklahoma) Assistant Professor at Bryant University and Tara Emmers-Sommer (PhD, Ohio University) Associate Professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Their goal was to find data on how the perceptions of  different relationship satisfaction variables in online romantic relationships satisfy relationship needs. They also considered which variables were most important in the overall success of the online relationships. The study was made up of 114 people, ages ranging between 18-64. All the people involved in the survey had never met their partner in person. (Anderson & Emmers- Sommer). Many different measures were developed to asses what degree each variable is felt. All the individual variables ranked relatively high on each of their scales and overall relationship satisfaction was between 88%-96% relationships (Anderson & Emmers- Sommer). The research could conclude that intimacy, trust and communication satisfaction were the most important variables to consider when evaluating relationship satisfaction, with the most significance placed on communication satisfaction. Due to the tremendous amount of time and effort put into communicating in an online romantic relationship, it was found that online relationships sometimes have greater levels of intimacy, then face to face relationships (Anderson & Emmers- Sommer).Therefore, based on the conclusions drawn from the study my thesis is confirmed because it suggest that communication technologies can be utilized to fulfill relationship needs just as successfully as a face-to-face relationships.


Anderson, Traci L. and Emmers-Sommer, Tara M. “Predictors of Relationship Satisfaction in Online Romantic Relationships.” Communication Studies, vol. 57, no. 2, 2006, pp.153-172, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10510970600666834?scroll=top&needAccess=true&. Accessed 22 November 2017.



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