The quantity and subject matter of the pictures have an impact on the level of support and intimacy within relationships, according to research carried out at the University of Birmingham, the University of the West of England, the University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt University.
"Our research found that those who frequently post photographs on Facebook risk damaging real-life relationships," said Dr David Houghton, a lecturer in marketing at Birmingham Business School and lead author of the report.
"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. 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," Houghton said.
The study found that partners who shared more photographs of events led to a decrease in intimacy. Similarly, a close friend who shared more photographs of friends could also expect to it to have a negative impact on the quality of that relationship.
"Partners sharing more photographs of family is positively related to support, whereas partners sharing more photographs of friends is related negatively to intimacy," the study said.
Researchers also suggest that big brand advertising campaigns, which encourage people to post photographs of themselves with the product on Facebook, risk damaging the relationships between their 'fans'.
"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.
"My advice for people sharing photos or links with a fan site is to think twice and share once. Be cautious when sharing and think how it will be perceived by all the others who may see it. Although sharing is a great way to better relationships it can also damage them," said Dr Ben Marder, early career fellow in marketing at the University Of Edinburgh Business School, who contributed to the research.


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