Whilst some believe that online communication is the same as face-to-face, the lack of traditional rules and artifacts is impacting on couple communication. The term ‘ambient intimacy’ put forward by Lisa Reichelt, describes the way in which social media allows couples to ‘keep touch with one another with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it possible’ (Threshold Dec 2011, pp8-10).
Ambient intimacy might be one of the processes that underlie the formation and maintenance of relationships on social media. Previous researchers have shown that social media use can strengthen weaker relationships (Ellison, Steinfield, Lampe, 2007).
This technology also creates difficult situations for couples involving emotional intimacy and fidelity, including the ease of access to personal details, the ease at which private communication can take place and access to pornography. Facebook is increasing cited in divorce proceedings in both the US and UK.
- Ellison, N. N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends”: Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12
- Reichelt, L. (2007). Ambient Intimacy. Disambiguity. Retrieved from http://www.disambiguity.com/ambient-intimacy/
- Lin, R., Levordashka, A., & Utz, S. (2016). Ambient intimacy on Twitter. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 10(1), article 6.
- Threshold Dec 2011, pp 8-10
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