Thursday, November 18, 2010

Facebook Says You'll Break Up Before Spring Break

Who knew that Facebook was more than just an epic drug for college procrastinators? Or a godsend to the socially isolated (*cough*Marc Zuckerberg *cough*).

It turns out that Facebook and other social media technologies are collectively becoming an important tool for understanding our culture at large - why people behave the way they do, in real time.

Which brings me to the question Facebook was designed to answer....when will Sally and Bobby (or insert tumultuous couple you know here) break up? Will they leave tons of evidence all over the Internet for their friends to see? Insert awkward breakup status update here....

Two researchers from Oxford have mined over 10,000 status updates - all publicly available without hacking - to search for key phrases like "heartbreak", "breakup", or "broken up". Do people really post these very private things on their status for the world to see? It appears they do, and often. The result is this graph, which confirms many of our suspicions about the timing of breakups:

*People like to start Spring Break and, to a lesser degree, their summer vacations, single
*Most breakups are announced on a Monday, perhaps after one of those last straw weekends
*There are fewest splits on Christmas Day, but there's a peak just before Christmas, maybe so people don't have to buy their ex-to-be a gift.
On the other hand, a study from the Scientific American suggests that the very people who would be likely to post about their hideous breakups, or their nosejobs, or how glamorous their weekend just was, are those people who trend toward narcissism and low self-esteem. Hmmm....who'd a thunk.

Source: Time Healthland (via GOOD)

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