Facebook recently posted findings from independent research and their own analysis which suggests that if one is less actively engaged in connecting with others on Facebook, that they tend to feel worse. By ‘engaged’ they are referring to liking, sharing, commenting on posts. The research in no way is encouraging more time to be spent on Facebook or social media for one’s well being, but rather actively engaging in the conversations within the media so that you experience meaningful interactions.
We’ve all been at a party where we sometimes feel less engaged with the other attendees, and at other times we have connected with the others that were there by chatting and communicating. Which made you feel better or worse? Is social media all that different?
Here is a short caption of the Facebook post. You will find the post in its entirety here.
What Do Academics Say? Is Social Media Good or Bad for Well-Being?
According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology. For example, on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends — messaging and commenting on each other’s posts. Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse.
Facebook provides a few examples on how meaningful interactions on social media may benefit one’s well being; connecting with friends and relatives that are long-distance to you, getting help in finding an organ donor with the help of Facebook groups, sharing health experiences with others in that live with a similar health condition and helping somebody who may feel suicidal.
Some are calling this Facebook blog post self-serving. I do not believe that it was meant to be a manipulative post to get you to spend more time on social media sites. Instead, I got the sense that the post was meant to provide some data that might assist some users to establish a more meaningful experience while using social media sites. In no way are they suggesting users to use the site more often or for longer periods. Instead, Facebook is suggesting that you might feel better about yourself if you connect with others while you’re using the site, just as you would if you were at a party.