Tweeting this story could lead to your divorce


(Photo by ♔ Georgie R)

If you're an avid Twitter user, you may want to cut back if you're in a relationship.

People who use Twitter are more likely than not to have fights with their significant others. That's according to a report from the University of Missouri, which concludes that the social network is capable of causing strife that leads to infidelity and breakups — no matter how long a couple has been together.

"If high amounts of Twitter use does, indeed, lead to high amounts of Twitter-related conflict … among romantic partners, it is plausible to speculate that such conflict could lead to unfavorable relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup or divorce," the paper's author, Russell Clayton, wrote. "The results from this study largely support these propositions."

Clayton surveyed 581 Twitter users about their habits — how often they check Twitter, tweet, message other users and so on — and asked them how frequently they had arguments with their partners about Twitter. Clayton also asked respondents whether they had emotionally or physically cheated with someone they'd met through Twitter, and whether "Twitter has led to a breakup/divorce."

Clayton concludes that too much Twitter usage, or the perception of it, can drive a wedge between couples. Like most studies about social media, however, this one deserves a dose of healthy skepticism. The fact that too much of anything might be grounds for a breakup seems self-evident. Just because people say "yes" when you ask them whether Twitter played a role in a breakup or a cheating event doesn't mean Twitter is any more to blame for breakups generally than, say, leaving the toilet seat up or failing to do the dishes.

Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications and the Internet. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.

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