The role of social media technology has had a profound influence on modern romantic relationships in the past decade. This dissertation critically reviews empirical literature from the field of new media studies (situated within the broader field of media and communications) that focus on the heightened impact of social media usage in the beginning to maintenance stages of romantic relationships. Moreover, gaps in the current literature are explored, such as limitations in the demographics and romantic relationship stages that are analyzed for data collection. For example, the paucity of published literature regarding how social media affects relationships past once users meet their partners is examined. Furthermore, this review questions the scope and focus of existing empirical case studies as well as highlights the importance of literary representation and the cruciality of diversity in this emerging field. It is important to note that this research is focused specifically on social media (such as Facebook), however, this does not exclude dating websites and applications (such as Tinder) that utilize social media profiles within its algorithms. Ultimately, future research must become more invested in inclusivity, namely who and what is represented both topically and empirically, to allow for more insightful exploration into this burgeoning research area regarding the influence of social media on modern romantic relationships.
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