You have probably heard time and again that sharing too much on social media is unnecessary, especially emotional breakdowns like a bad break-up or a horrid customer service experience. Well, it turns out that sharing your troubles on social media may actually be good for you!
Researchers have found out that microblogging on social media, which is essentially tweeting or writing Facebook updates, can help reduce negative emotions in people who experience social anxiety.
Update Your Status & Feel Better
The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, showed that people felt better after sharing short messages with a large audience on social media. It helped them reach out without making any one person, in particular, to feel obligated to respond.
The findings are important because it shows that these social networks could be an important communication channel for people who would otherwise stay isolated.
“When people feel badly, they have a need to reach out to others because this can help reduce negative emotions and restore a sense of well-being,” said the author of the study, Eva Buechel, a professor at the University of South Carolina. “But talking to someone face-to-face or on the phone might feel daunting because people may worry that they are bothering them. Sharing a status update on Facebook or tweet on Twitter allows people to reach out to a large audience in a more undirected manner.”
Social Media: Tool To Ease Anxiety
For the study, people were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to write about a time when they had no one to talk to at a party. The purpose was to remind them of a time when they felt uneasy in a social setting. The second group was a control group which had to write about an ordinary topic such as office products. Both groups were then asked to log on to their preferred social media network for an allotted period of time. The results showed that the people who were made to feel socially anxious were more likely to microblog.
Some of the participants were also asked to see clips from the movie “Silence of the Lambs” to arouse negative emotions. All the participants in the group then had to answer questions that measured their level of social anxiety in a variety of situations. The results were interesting – those who scored higher on the social anxiety scale were more likely to microblog. The people who scored lower preferred to share their feelings with another person, either through face-to-face communication or via direct message.
Few studies have been done on the health benefits of being on social media, even though users have been increasing rapidly. Since 2005, the number of social media accounts has soared from 8% to 72% in the US, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers say there is a danger if people use social media as their only form of communication. However, when used wisely, social media can be a useful tool to reduce negative emotions in people.
So the next time, you see an update on Facebook that somebody broke up with a loved one, don’t feel so bad. Now, you know that it’s just a way of unburdening without troubling any one person in particular, and scientists recommend it!