Most of us have heard of the “Facebook effect”: that more time on social media is associated with higher levels of depression and more life dissatisfaction. However, a new study has found that the users’ emotional responses after using social media vary based on which social media platform they use.
University of Michigan researcher Joseph Bayer recruited 154 college students with smart phones and texted them at random six times a day to assess their emotional state and recent communications. SnapChat interactions were associated with more positive emotions than Facebook and other social media platforms and came second only to face to face interactions.
SnapChat may not be for everyone (read about some of the pros and cons of SnapChat here). However, this study contains some useful social media advice that can benefit anyone, no matter their preferred platform.
Engage one on one as much as possible
A distinctive feature of SnapChat is that interaction only happens between inviduals. There is no “lurking,” and no feeling left out. On other social media platforms, it’s easy to just scroll by without engaging. Eventually, users can feel on the outside looking in– a lonely sensation.
Create face time
SnapChat is very visual. Most users communicate through pictures and video calls; while a text messaging feature exists, it isn’t used as often. This pseudo face to face interaction combines the benefits of real life socialization with the convenience of modern technology. In your own digital interactions, send pictures and video call when possible.
Keep it real
One of the positive effects of SnapChat as noted by this study is reduced “self-presentational” concerns. While other social media platforms reward the picture-perfect profile, SnapChat emphasizes sharing quick, unpolished moments. If you are not a SnapChat user, try to focus more on sharing your life with loved ones on social media than looking perfect.
Share the mundane
Facebook especially has become a place for recording major life events and achievements: weddings, births, graduations, vacations, developmental milestones, etc. Because SnapChat messages disappear, the app lends itself better to sharing mundane moments. Sharing day-to-day life in digital interaction can promote closeness in relationships and temper the “Facebook effect” of too many polished profiles.
Social media is a great tool for maintaing both short and long distance relationships with friends and family. However, as research indicates that unwise use of social media has negative effects, make sure that social media and technology is improving your quality of life.