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Christine Metz Howard
KU News Service
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Successful marriages can begin on social media

Mon, 02/10/2014

LAWRENCE — Those searching for love on Valentine’s Day might want to amp up their Facebook friend requests.

A new study from the University of Kansas shows Americans who married between 2005 and 2012 and met through social networking sites were just as likely to have successful marriages as those who met offline or through other online locations, such as Internet dating sites. And, they were more likely to be satisfied in their marriage than those who met in traditional offline ways, such as through friends.

“It’s a low-risk, high-reward potential place to meet someone,” said Associate Professor of Communication Studies Jeffrey Hall, who conducted the study. “You don’t have to pay for it, you don’t have to create a profile that you wouldn’t share with friends and family anyway, and it has a built-in way of recognizing people that you might want to be friends with.”

Hall found married couples who met through social networking sites were younger, married more recently and more likely to be African-American compared with those who met through other online locations. Compared to those who met offline, the social networking couples were also younger, married more recently and more likely to be male, African-American or Hispanic and frequent Internet users with higher incomes.

Hall looked at a nationally representative sample of 18,527 Americans who married between 2005 and 2012 and compared those who met through social networking sites to those who first connected online in other ways, such as Internet dating sites, chat rooms, discussion groups, virtual worlds, email, instant messaging or messages on blogs. He then looked at how social networking site couples compared to those who met offline.

While the study didn’t explore why couples connecting through social networking sites were just as successful as other ways of meeting, Hall said one explanation could be that social networking sites bring together couples in much the same way that traditional methods do and keep them within a close network of similar people.

“When we meet through traditional places like school, church or through friends, we meet people who have some sense of shared values, characteristics and experiences. And that makes them attractive to us,” he said.

Hall suggests that younger generations were more likely to meet through social networking sites because they were early adopters of the technology and had more expansive friendship networks. His research showed that as the overall number of Americans who used social networking sites grew from 2005 to 2012, so did the average age of Americans who met on social networking sites and then married.

Hall’s advice for those looking to find love on Facebook is for more mature users to take a cue from younger generations, who tend to be less guarded on who they accept as friends.

“Start saying yes to friend requests,” he said.

Hall, who in 2013 published the book “The Five Flirting Styles: Use the Science of Flirting to Attract the Love You Really Want,” is now studying how different flirting styles translate to finding romance on social networking sites.



Happy Kansas Day, Kansans! We caught sunflowers standing tall at the Grinter Family Farms just outside Lawrence last fall. You may wonder how the sunflower came to be the State flower in 1903 and we found an excerpt from Kansas legislation: Whereas, Kansas has a native wild flower common throughout her borders, hardy and conspicuous, of definite, unvarying and striking shape, easily sketched, moulded, and carved, having armorial capacities, ideally adapted for artistic reproduction, with its strong, distinct disk and its golden circle of clear glowing rays -- a flower that a child can draw on a slate, a woman can work in silk, or a man can carve on stone or fashion in clay; and Whereas, This flower has to all Kansans a historic symbolism which speaks of frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies, and is full of the life and glory of the past, the pride of the present, and richly emblematic of the majesty of a golden future, and is a flower which has given Kansas the world-wide name, "the sunflower state"... Be it enacted ... that the helianthus or wild native sunflower is ... designated ... the state flower and floral emblem of the state of Kansas.

RT @caboni : Great to host the @Surgeon _General for another stop on his national listening tour at @KUMedCenter http://t.co/jYi0SbaVZt
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times