Facebook Makes You as Happy as Getting Married or Having a Baby - Dispatch Weekly

September 8, 2016 - Reading time: 4 minutes

  A new study by Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook has found that meaningful interactions with friends on Facebook could make you as happy as getting married or having a baby.

The Study

A study, published by the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, tracked 1,910 Facebook users’ activities for three months, analyzing how they used the site, specifically, how they posted statuses and commented.

They then asked the participants to take a survey about their mood and life satisfaction.

They found that when someone received personalized comments from those they knew and cared about, they began to feel good

This did not include passive interactions such as one-click feedback and ‘likes.’

Personalized comments, Communication and Relationships

Moira Burke, a research scientist at Facebook who earned a Ph.D. in human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon said:

“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.”

Photo Credit: Facebook, Community

Sixty Comments From Friends, a Month Increased Happiness

Sixty comments from close friends a month helped increase psychological well-being and happiness, equivalent of a major life event like having a baby or wedding.

The detailed research examined different types of activity: posting, commenting, likes and passive reading, rather than relying on people’s recollections.

The findings by Burke and Robert Kraut, the Herbert A.Simon Professor Human-Computer Interaction in CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute has upturned previous studies that focus on Facebook usage and depression and loneliness.

In Depth Conversation with Friends Makes You Feel Happier

“Kraut said, “It turns out that when you talk with a little more depth on Facebook to people you already like, you feel better,” Kraut said. “That also happens when people talk in person.”

Burke added, “This suggests that people who are feeling down may indeed spend more time on social media, but they choose to do so because they’ve learned it makes them feel better.”

“They’re reminded of the people they care about in their lives.”

A Long-term Study Using Data

By studying Facebook usage and analyzing data in aggregates, the study is said to be more comprehensive than previous studies.

This thorough research method allowed the researchers to rule out that happier people use Facebook more or that mental health influences how people use the social media site.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.