Facebook users who do not get immediate feedback on the social networking site suffer from a lack of belonging, lower self-esteem and general despair, scientists say. New research into how social media websites define us socially and the influence that it has on our personal welfare suggests that a lack of social participation on Facebook leads to people feeling less meaningful. The research published in the journal Social Influence looked at how Facebook communication impacts on feelings of social belonging which in turn affects outlook on life; loneliness and self-worth. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!
Researchers, led by Dr Stephanie Tobin from The University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, conducted two studies centered on ‘lurking’ or passive Facebook participation and on ostracism, aiming to analyze how participants would feel when deliberately ‘snubbed’. The first study looked at a group who frequently posted on Facebook. During the study half were actively posting participants and the other half passively observing friends’ statuses. The study revealed that not posting for two days had a negative impact on personal well-being.
In the second study, a group used anonymous bespoke accounts in a controlled space where participants were urged to post and to comment on other’s Facebook posts. Half of the groups were unwittingly set up to receive no feedback. In both cases, participants were interviewed on their feelings of belonging, meaningful existence, self-esteem and control after the exercise. Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?
Both passive and shunned users experienced feelings of exclusion and felt ‘invisible’ and less important as individuals. Shunned users also experienced lower self-esteem and control. The researchers concluded that active participation on Facebook was key in producing a sense of belonging among social media users. Also Read - WhatsApp Multi-device support confirmed, public beta rollout begins in two months: Mark Zuckerberg