Social Media and Interpersonal Relationships (Weekly Assignment #3)

#connections #twitter #fandating # #sexting #scandal

The Strength of the Work Ties

Creating groups and selecting people has become a huge part of our lives. It starts in the early stages of being a child with picking friends and develops to hiring people to do a selective task for a company. College students are a great example for this phenomenon. They have to create teams in class almost all the time. This research has never been done before and focuses on finding the relationship the teams chosen by the students and their activity on social media. The researchers asked university students on who they wish to team up with and cross referenced this with the data they gathered form the social media activity of the participants.

The researchers first gathered the data about the preferences of the anonymous students by conducting a sociometric test, asking the students from the first classroom if they wanted to work with certain members of the second classroom. Then these answers were analyzed by collecting information about the results of the students in class.

Besides the data of the classroom results, the Facebook data had to prove that the position of the student in the class correlated with the position of the student on Facebook. The researchers developed an application to collect data direct from Facebook accounts of the participants. Data like the numbers of inbox messages they exchange, comments, likes, etc. all got collected.

In conclusion, the data covered exactly 1272 working affinities drawing the following outcome.

The participants status on Facebook has a stronger effect on the reason why people get chosen to work with than their grades for example. This gives us an insight on how a online communication platform like Facebook has a big influence on the relationship between students compared to the classroom’s offline network.

The representativeness of the results is limited because the research could have been conducted on a larger scale with more classrooms and the outcomes of the questions could have been broader instead of just; positive, negative and neutral. This gives future researchers the chance to expand this research and draw better conclusions.

Examples of success and failures of social media use in relation to Interpersonal Relationships

Example of success:
Danielle Caesar

In 2009 Danielle Caesar started tweeting her celebrity crush Jake T. Austin with an unexpected outcome. Austin is best known for his acting role in Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place, also starring Selena Gomez.

She kept persistently tweeting him for four years before he started following her back. She wrote tweets like: “Me & @jaketaustin are getting married. Shhh =x he just doesn’t know it yet ; ) yes I know I’m a freak :D”

In January 2016, after five years of cyber-contact the couple made it official. According to Austin’s social media accounts, in August 2016 the couple was still together and going strong.

According to Psychology Today the deep feelings that Caesar had towards her idol can be seen as a symptom of celebrity worship syndrome (CWS). She can be classified as intense-personal level of obsession due to her believing that Austin is her soulmate and wanting to marry him without even meeting him.

How did the success occur?

This successful fan-idol love story was possible only because of social media. Especially Twitter allows you to have direct communication with the celebrities in a way that could not have been possible before. Though it started one-sided as the fan-idol communication often is, in this case it had results and she started getting responses leading to an actual relationship.

Infographic of this event’s timeline:

Example of failure:
Anthony Weiner


In 2011, Congressman Anthony Weiner tweeted a sexually explicit photograph to one of his female followers. He denied the allegation that this was in fact a picture of him. He then went on to claim that his twitter account was hacked, after said photos were revealed through other users´ twitter accounts. He had accidentally messaged thousands of accounts (Barrett, 2011) He confessed during a press conference, that he had been exchanging explicit photographs with 6 women over 3 years. After said photos have revealed through other users´ twitter accounts, Weiner decided to resign from Congress in 2011 (Chozick & Healy, 2016).

According to Chozick and Healy (2016) he still wanted to continue in politics, in 2013, Weiner ran for Mayor of New York City. During that time, Weiner used an alternative twitter account to further send explicit photographs to women. In 2015 he was exchanging pictures and texts with another woman. Sending a picture in his briefs while his young son was curled up beside him. The photo was leaked and published all over tabloid media. In 2016, his wife, Huma Abedin who works for Hillary Clinton, announced her intention to divorce Weiner. In September that year, Weiner was being investigated for having a month-long online sexual relationship with a 15 years old. His online behaviour is still not under control.

How did the failure occur?

Online sexting happens allot, sending pictures and explicit messages is very normal and the majority of adults do this(McAfee inc., 2014). Extramarital sexting seems safe and anonymous. Weiner as a public figure thought this too, but obviously it didn’t work out in the end. He made a mistake, and suddenly the entire world knew about his extramarital sexting. And it didn’t stop there. Webster (2016), compares Winers behavior with a Freud theory, that he is split. Where in one way he does want to stop posting these pictures and in the other way he continues with this carreer distructing behavior. But also because Weiner never sends pictures where he is fully naked. In that you can see that he knows that would be completely destroying everything. In ‘’Why Married adults cheat’’ (n.d.) another explanation for this online behavior is the thrill and excitement, of getting away with it and feeling like a teenager again. This contribute greatly to why adults keep on doing this.

Video of scandal timeline:


Business Insider. (2016, January 19). A superfan tweeted her celebrity crush for 5 years, and now they’re dating. Retrieved from

Mirror. (2016, January). Jake T. Austin speaks out after it’s revealed he’s dating superfan who bombarded him with tweets for FIVE years. Retrieved from

Psychology Today. (2013, July 05). Celebrity Worship Syndrome – A brief psychological overview. Retrieved from

Starcasm. (2016, August 17). Jake T Austin and Danielle Caesar still going strong despite dectators. Retrieved from

Barrett, D. (2011, June 09). Democrats push weiner to go. Retrieved from

Chozick, A., & Healy, P. (2016, March 29). Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin to Separate After His Latest Sexting Scandal. Retrieved from

McAfee Inc.. (2014, February 04). Study Reveals Majority of Adults Share    Intimate Details Via Unsecured Digital Devices [Press release]. Retrieved from

Webster, J. (2016, August 29). Did Anthony Weiner want to get caught sexting? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Why married adults cheat with sexting [Blog post]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2016, from



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