A recent study revealed that college students who posted more number of status updates on their social networks like facebook; than they normally did felt less lonely over a period of one week even if they did not receive any “likes” or “comments” on their posts.
Psychology researcher, Fenne Deters from the University at Berlin said that the idea to conduct the study occurred during a coffee-break while sharing random stories about what friends had posted on Facebook.
She wondered why posting status updates is so popular and decided to study this form of communication empirically. The team recruited approximately 100 undergraduates who were all Facebook users at the University of Arizona. The participants filled initial survey questionnaires to measure their levels of happiness, loneliness or depression.
The researchers accessed their Facebook profiles by getting them to befriend a 'dummy user' created for the experiment. An average weekly status update analysis through wall-memos was sent to these students and some participants were told to post more status updates than usual over the next week.
During the course of the week, these participants completed short on-line questioners about their moods and social interaction levels. The team found that students who updated their status more often felt less lonely compared to those who did not adjust their social media habits. Researchers said that the levels of depression or happiness remained unchanged in the participants suggesting that the uplifting experience was specific to those who already experienced loneliness.
A fall in loneliness was linked to increased social connection. This was the very cause behind positive effects of status updating, the researchers added. Interestingly, the loneliness levels were independent of feedback received on status updates including likes or comments.
Researchers also added that while lack of response could be considered as a form of rejection, the very act of writing a status update could help people get a feeling of staying connected. They said that most Facebook users craft their status keeping their target audience in mind. Hence, simply thinking about their friends could be causing a 'social snacking' effect.