Thank You, Captain Obvious

*Disclaimer: I am neither a mental health professional nor a scientific researcher, I am merely a person who likes to say “I told you so.”

Western Illinois University recently released the findings of a research study linking excessive Facebook activity to narcissism.
To this I say, “Thank You, Captain Obvious.”
After all, do we really need a study to tell us that the people who post updates on every aspect of their lives – seeking “likes” and comments from their 1,000+ close personal friends – are narcissists? No more so than we need a study examining the presence of sarcasm in my personality. Although, I think we can all agree that such an experiment, like the Facebook study, would be an invaluable use of time and resources.
Well, in honor of Western Illinois University’s groundbreaking research, I decided to conduct a Facebook experiment of my own.

The question: Does excessive Facebook PDA predict problems in a relationship? (For the purposes of this study, excessive shall be defined as an average of at least one status update or wall post per day.)

Hypothesis: With the exceptions of significant life events (i.e. deployment, cohabitation, anniversary, engagement, wedding, or baby), excessive Facebook PDA does predict underlying problems in a relationship.

Experiment: I will look at the Facebook profiles of friends who fill(ed) my news feed with frequent public declarations of adoration and love, and analyze the current status of said relationships.
Conclusion: So, does excessive Facebook PDA spell trouble in paradise…? Yes, yes it does.

Comments and unsolicited advice from an individual who is in no way qualified to offer such advice: Based on my extensive and incontrovertibly accurate research, Facebook PDA is a symptom of a larger problem. If engaged in a relationship that is chronicled on Facebook, you are advised to evaluate the underlying issues behind the compulsion to frequently and publicly acknowledge the relationship.
Aside from typical trust and jealousy issues that plague many Facebook PDA couples, humans have an animalistic need to mark one’s territory.
Legend has it that once upon a time, a man would signify a pre-engagement commitment to his girlfriend by giving her his letter jacket in high school, or pinning her in college. The guys at my high school were not quite as romantic, opting, instead, to mark their territory with a hickey.
Classy? No.
Effective? Absolutely.
In the recent social media frenzy, Facebook has become the Web 2.0 equivalent of the hickey. On Facebook, you can flaunt your relationship for all to see – friends, jealous exes, or skeptics who doubted your ability to ever find a significant other (who isn’t inflatable).
It should come as no surprise that I subscribe to the theory that the more public the relationship, the less stable it actually is.
As stated in my hypothesis, I concede that there are exceptions to the rule. However, the general rule for a correlation between excessive Facebook PDA and relationship longevity is that a relationship played out on
Facebook is unlikely to succeed behind closed doors.
Proponents of Facebook PDA will likely accuse me, and rightfully so, of being cynical and unromantic. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
They call themselves hopelessly in love.
I call them soon-to-be single.

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