A new study from the U.K. confirms what we’ve long suspected: Oversharing of Facebook photos is more than just a nuisance, and uploading a hundred “selfies” per day could very well be damaging to your real-world relationships.
The study found that both excessive photo sharing and sharing photos of a certain type makes almost everyone like you less.
“This is because people, other than very close friends and relatives, don’t seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves,” explained Dr. David Houghton, the study’s lead author, in a statement released by Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University. “It’s worth remembering that the information we post to our ‘friends’ on Facebook, actually gets viewed by lots of different categories of people: partners; friends; family; colleagues and acquaintances; and each group seems to take a different view of the information shared.”
The study evaluated various types of photographs (self, friend, event, family, scene, object and animal), and how each affected a handful of different types of relationships (a relative, partner, close friend, colleague and a general Facebook friend). To gauge the impacts of the photos on relationships, 508 participants were then polled, and their reactions were measured on a scale of “support” and “intimacy.”
In an email to The Huffington Post, Dr. Houghton defined “intimacy” as “how close an individual is to another.” He described “support” as “how much the two individuals in question would provide help to one another.”
While the specific correlations between each type of relationship and each type of picture are a bit messy to be summarized here, at least one general rule is clear: “Increased frequency of sharing photographs of the self, regardless of the type of target sharing the photographs, is related to a decrease in intimacy,” the researchers noted in the study.
Interestingly, researchers also examined how Facebook users’ relationships changed when they posted to a brand’s Facebook fan page or published photos that advocate commercial products or causes.
Spoiler alert: Nobody likes that, either.
“While benefiting brand awareness and critical mass of a Facebook fan page for a brand, organization or cause, sharing photographs may be harmful to those asked to participate,” according to the study report.
As CNET sees it, “If you’re one of those people who posts pictures of yourself to the Corn Flakes fan page, you are yourself a corn flake.”
So what’s the takeaway from all this?
“We think people should use social network sites … and enjoy the benefits they bring, because after all they are fun, or we wouldn’t be using them. But just be careful about what [you] are sharing,” Dr. Houghton told The HuffPost, adding, “Think twice, post once.”