Facebook may be great at keeping people connected and form a vital part of businesses’ marketing strategy, but new research suggests it may not be quite so good for people’s health.
In a recent study, scientists from the University of Michigan in the United States found a clear correlation between the time people spent on Facebook and their unhappiness.
82 participants took part in the recent study and all had smartphones and a Facebook account. Over a two-week period the participants were monitored closely and asked questions by text message about how well they felt at various times of the day. They were also asked questions about how much time they’d spent on Facebook.
After analysing the results, the researchers found that levels of Facebook use correlated with a greater loss of wellbeing. In contrast, talking to friends on the phone or meeting them in person led to greater levels of happiness!
While social media has its benefits in that it allows friends and family members to keep in contact in ways that weren’t previously possible, psychologists and social commentators have long remarked on the negative influence it can also have on people’s health and social skills as they increasingly rely on virtual contact as opposed to real face-to-face communication. This study would seem to back up those fears.
And while social media remains the buzzword among marketers at the moment, business leaders have long complained about the lack of decent communication skills and literacy skills among younger graduates who have grown up on a communications diet of short ‘txts’, 140-character tweets and meaningless status updates.
So perhaps it’s time we finally put the smartphones down and started communicating with each other in person that little bit more… for the sake of our communications skills as well as our health!