Engaged folks and parents sure do love to post photos of their weddings and newborns on Facebook, but it turns out that using Facebook can affect a person's satisfaction and overall feelings of well-being as much as the weddings and babies we see so many pictures of. A new study from Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook found evidence that the ever-popular social media platform provides interactions with friends and family that users care about, which can bring feelings of satisfaction tantamount to having a wedding or a baby.
The study, published in the journal Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, is the result of research into the Facebook accounts and activity of 1,910 Facebook users from 19 countries over the course of three months, according to a press release. Researchers found that it's not just any Facebook activity that gives people those warm and fuzzy feelings, but specifically personalized comments or posts from Facebook connections.
This can be a comment that's just a sentence or two. The important thing is that someone such as a close friend takes the time to personalize it. The content may be uplifting, and the mere act of communication reminds recipients of the meaningful relationships in their lives.
But to get to the point that a person feels as great as if they'd had a baby or a wedding, Burke told Complex over email that Facebook users would need "about 60 or more comments than average from close friends."
The study also said scanning through brief posts doesn't cause the same levels of happiness for people and argues that this new research contradicts other studies that have demonstrated Facebook use makes people feel more depressed.
The press statement noted that, although the researchers for this study did not perform a random-assignment experiment (the ultimate scientific method for connecting cause and effect), the researchers feel that the results of the study bring us "closer to establishing a causal relationship than can be shown using the one-time surveys common in most studies on this topic."