The Peacock Press

Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students

Social Media Grappling, Trolling, and Sub-Tweeting: The Issues in Relationships among Young Adults

I was locked up for damn near four months and only got one visit from you while you was hosting parties and going on secret trips to Toronto, going on dates with Drake”, he said. “When this relationship first started you knew what it was and even participated in threesomes.”

This was a comment posted by pop star Chris Brown on his personal Instagram account about his ex girlfriend Karrueche Tran. Airing private matters and accusing her of infidelity, he vented about all of his relationship problems on both Twitter and Instagram.

Tran responded on Twitter saying, “N***** be in their feelings when you break up with them lol.”

The argument lasted a few days with more and more comments, the whole time never mentioning each other’s names, but the world knew they were talking to each other.

Chris Brown ended the bickering with, “I don’t think social media is the place to air out or hash out our personal problems”, he said. “So I am apologizing.”

We are in the era of “subtweeting”, when a person is talking about you, but doesn’t mention your name. Famous couples are infamous for going on subtweeting rants and so are the rest of us.


Many of us will publicly humiliate our partner with all of our followers commenting and retweeting, allowing strangers to know personal information about our partner and the problems within the relationship.

Before social media arguments, couples hashed out their issues directly. There was no subtweeting or vague statements insinuating that your upset at your partner . Arguments happened in person and were settled between the couple or with a therapist, but the giant social media platforms are getting in the way of that.


Now there is an audience watching the quarrel and forming their own opinions on the matter or commenting on pictures with their opinion on you and your relationship.Subtweeting, problems with jealousy, and surveillance of our partners online accounts have become problems in many peoples relationships today.


According to a 21-year-old student at Saint Peter’s University, Twitter was a good and bad thing in her relationship. She asked us not to reveal her name.


“Every time we got in an argument she’d always wanna tweet,” she said. “Know one needed to know our business. But I would tweet too if I was mad because I didn’t want to talk to her.

Then we would both tweet how we were feeling, but not mad, and we’d kind of feel each other out. Then we’d finally get in contact and work it out.”


“People would give weird looks and say little slick stuff” she added. “But it didn’t matter to us.”


According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 45% of online 18-29 year olds in serious relationships say the internet has had an impact on their relationship and 21% say it had a major impact.
Neechelle Ingram, a 20-year-old student at Saint Peter’s University had continuous arguments with her ex-boyfriend over subtweeting about her and jealously.


“I always would think he’d be subbing me or something”, she said. “Once I thought he was talking about me and my friends, but It was just Drake.It felt like he was putting our business out there, ya know?”


“He would put verses of songs that would relate to our relationship”, she said. “He always claimed they were just song lyrics, but they always were too close to what was going on with us.”

Richard G. Jones, the author of Communication in the Real World, said through an email interview that social media can incite a person with jealous traits to watch accounts and phones of their significant other.

“As for relationship maintenance, social media plays a larger role”, he said. “Social media can facilitate surveillance (which can become stalking behaviors) of a loved one. Social media can also heighten existing jealousy.”

However, Dr. Jones does say that although social media gives people a place to find different men and women to flirt and have sex with, jealousy is a psychological and personal trait and social media isn’t the sole cause of stalking media.

“Social media does however give people a tool through which to ‘investigate’ whether or not their jealousy or trust issues are warranted”, he said. “And, if the person ‘investigating’ their relational partner is someone predisposed to jealousy or trust issue, because of personality and psychological traits, then they will likely find ‘evidence’ via social media that confirms their suspicion.”

The snooping that Dr. Jones discussed is one of the largest problems in relationships today. This need to snoop and look through our partners social media to make sure they’re not “flirting” or messaging other people through their account is creating a trust issue.

A 22- year- old student at Saint Peter’s University was in relationship and blames social media for the breakup. She couldn’t help herself from snooping and watching her boyfriend’s profiles with all of the flirting and messaging he was doing on Instagram and Twitter.

“Social media was a huge problem in our relationship from the beginning and it played a part in why we broke up”, she said.  She also asked not to reveal her name. “He would be almost obsessed with posting videos or pictures and also there was a problem with acknowledging that he was in a relationship on his social media, like he would post stuff as if he were single, which caused arguments.”

With all of the trolling on Instagram and Twitter, it became the central problem in their relationship and her confidence in him being faithful online became non-existent.

“My trust for him would have definitely been stronger without media”, she said. “But I’m happy that there is social media because that’s how I found out everything that was going on behind my back.”

Dr. Jones does note that monitoring and searching through our partners social media shows an unhealthy trust problem in the relationship and isn’t a sign of a relationship moving in a positive direction.

“I think if someone is engaging in that kind of monitoring behavior it is more likely to signal a problem with the person and/or relationship”, he said. “I also think that if one partner feels the need to secretly check the other’s communication then it is not a positive sign of relationship stability or health.”

Dr. Jones explains that communication about media accounts and how to respectfully use it while in a relationship is most important.

“I think it’s important for romantic couples especially to have direct conversations about how they use social media and their expectations for their relational partner”, he said. “Couples should talk about and maybe even negotiate as their relationship progresses so that social media doesn’t’t become a point of conflict when a couple realizes far into the relationship that their expectations for and values regarding social media differ.”

Social media is not the devil with red horns when it comes to your relationship and the problems within it. Expert say, if social media is used respectfully and if we can trust our partner is faithful on their accounts, the investigating, snooping, and sub-tweeting won’t continue to ruin the relationships.

“Actually, research has shown that computer mediated communication can help couples manage conflict”, Jones said. “Based on research and on my personal experience, I think social media, when used competently, can help manage conflict.”


About bridgetwhitfield

Newhouse graduate student at Syracuse University. Facebook: Bridget Whitfield Twitter: @dailydoseof_b

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This entry was posted on December 19, 2014 by in Arts and Entertainment and tagged , .
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