Does Posting Facebook Status Updates Increase or Decrease Loneliness? An Online Social Networking Experiment

Fenne große Deters, Matthias R. Mehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

167 Scopus citations

Abstract

Online social networking is a pervasive but empirically understudied phenomenon. Strong public opinions on its consequences exist but are backed up by little empirical evidence and almost no causally conclusive, experimental research. The current study tested the psychological effects of posting status updates on Facebook using an experimental design. For 1 week, participants in the experimental condition were asked to post more than they usually do, whereas participants in the control condition received no instructions. Participants added a lab "Research Profile" as a Facebook friend allowing for the objective documentation of protocol compliance, participants' status updates, and friends' responses. Results revealed (1) that the experimentally induced increase in status updating activity reduced loneliness, (2) that the decrease in loneliness was due to participants feeling more connected to their friends on a daily basis, and (3) that the effect of posting on loneliness was independent of direct social feedback (i.e., responses) by friends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-586
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume4
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • Facebook
  • Internet methodologies
  • loneliness
  • social integration
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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