If you’re feeling lonely, you might want to visit your Facebook page more often, because a new study found that hanging out with friends on social media websites can decrease feelings of isolation.
Researchers gathered together a group of lonely people. Half of them were told to use Facebook normally. While the rest were told to spend the week posting a lot more status updates, and they all completed daily surveys on mood, and social connectivity.
The result: Those who posted more status updates reported feeling less lonely and more connected to others even if none of their posts were “liked” or commented on. Researchers believe the automatic mood boost occurs because people tend to post news and observations specifically so their friends will see them. And just knowing that the people they care about might be looking is enough to generate feelings of closeness.
Still, the researchers say that social media alone isn’t enough to help you feel solidly connected to your friends and family. Facebooking will tide you over – like a snack will tide you over until dinner. But for true closeness, you have to hang out with people in real life.