Social media`s power to maintain connections is undeniable. But that’s not always a good thing.
A few blocks from Drake University, college students satisfy their caffeine cravings as Bailey Cernohous gets her fix of Facebook. Cernohous says, “It sounds really creepy but that’s how we are today.”
Some call it Facebook creeping. But social media experts call it a modern background check. Social media instructor at Drake University Chris Snyder says, “When you’re looking into someone you know you’re figuring out who is this roommate that I’m going to have in college or who is this person that I’m considering dating.”
Cernohous says she’d never date a guy before doing her research. Cernohous says, “Literally just going through all their pictures like seriously going through every profile picture to see what were they like before I knew them.”
But when that connection is cut, social media makes moving on much harder. Freshman Wayne Stratbucker says, “It’s so easy to get in touch with someone now and everything is so social now that it’s super easy to restart things. Which I don’t think is exactly the best thing to do.”
And if you’re on the wrong end of a breakup, keeping that connection can hurt. Director of Drake University’s Counseling Center Mark Kloberdanz says, “That’s very difficult because they’ve seen how they’ve moved on. How they’ve connected with other people. They see how their living a normal life and being happy and enjoying things.”
Kloberdanz says his counselors are tackling this destructive behavior daily with students. Kloberdanz, “It’s not going to change. If anything it’s probably going to intensify.”
A study by Western University found nearly 90 percent of people checkout their exes’ social media pages, or creep, during a breakup. Kloberdanz says, “I don’t think there’s a real benefit to that. I mean compared to previous times when people would normally breakup and then you know move on.”
But cutting that connection can also come at a cost. According to that same study deleting a friend can strain relationships with mutual friends. Cernohous says, “When you look through all the photos you’re like, ‘but those were some really good times.’ And it just makes you reminisce.”
But Cernohous says she’d rather be rude than reminisce, so she blocks people from her Twitter and Facebook.
Despite the drama, she says she’s still “friends” with Facebook and Twitter. That friendship started up a new relationship with an old friend. Cernohous says, “It’s just kind of interesting how Facebook actually like rekindled it.”
For Cernohous, social media is like any other relationship. The difference between disaster and a new date is what you do with it.