Facebook Charts the Emotional Rollercoaster of Being in a New Relationship

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As part of a week long series of love-themed studies, Facebook’s data scientists have compiled a chart illustrating how often couples post on each other’s Timelines before and after their relationship statuses when from “Single” to “In a Relationship” (or “Facebook Official.”) The researchers looked at a sample of anonymous Timeline posts exchanged by couples who had declared an anniversary date between 2010 and 2013 and who dated for longer than 100 days, at least from what Facebook could tell.

Here are the findings:

  • A couple exchanges messages, posts on each other’s Timelines, and visits each other’s profiles at a rate that begins to escalate slowly over the course of the 100 days.
  • Couples post up to a peak of 1.67 posts per day on each other’s walls in the 12 days prior to the start of the relationship.
  • The low occurs at 85 days in to the relationship, with only 1.53 posts per day, probably because couples are seeing each other more frequently in real life.
  • Couples’ Facebook posts that occur after the relationship begins become increasingly more positive, including words like “happy” and “love.”

This graph illustrates the number of Timeline posts exchanged between couples during their last 100 days of being “Single” and their first 100 days being “In a Relationship”:

Facebook timeline posts graph

And this graph shows us the rate of positive emotions expressed within these Timeline posts:

Facebook emotions in timeline posts graph

Facebook’s study is a bit flawed in that it kind of assumes relationships actually start on the day that people changes their status online, which is definitely not always the case. And some relationships can go on for quite awhile (possibly forever) with neither party posting a status. My parents aren’t even married on Facebook and they have most definitely been married in the real world for like seventeen years. But it’s interesting to see how a couple’s social media interactions change as they becomes more serious — at least, in Facebook’s eyes.