Study finds Facebook users are a happier bunch

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has found that Facebook users are more trusting, have more close friends, are more politically engaged, and get more support from their friends.

The U.S. survey of 2,255 American adults conducted last fall found that social media users have higher measures of social well-being.

Among the findings, researchers found that Facebook users are more trusting than others. Controlling for other factors, the research found that a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other internet users and more than three times as likely as non-internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.

In addition, Facebook users get more social support. The survey explored how much total social support, emotional support, companionship, and instrumental aid (such as having someone help you when you are sick in bed) adults receive. Controlling for other factors, a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day receives more emotional support and companionship. For Facebook users, the additional boost is equivalent to about half the total support that the average American receives as a result of being married or cohabitating with a partner.

The findings are interesting because they appear to contradict commonly held belief that social media sites negatively impact users relationships with others.

“There has been a great deal of speculation about the impact of social networking site use on people’s social lives, and much of it has centered on the possibility that these sites are hurting users’ relationships and pushing them away from participating in the world,” noted Prof. Keith Hampton, the lead author of the new Pew Internet report. “We’ve found the exact opposite – that people who use sites like Facebook actually have more close relationships and are more likely to be involved in civic and political activities.”

The survey also found that more people are now using social networking sites such as LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and forums such as Digital Home`s Digital Forum. Pew says 47% of the entire adult population in the U.S. uses such sites, compared with 26% in 2008 survey. The researchers also report that the average age of adult social networking site users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. Over half of all adult social networking site users are now over the age of 35.

“Social networking sites have become increasingly important to people as they find ways to integrate check-ins and updates into the rhythms of their lives,” noted Lee Rainie, a co-author of the report. “People use them now to stay in touch with their best friends and distant acquaintances alike. But the story hasn’t ended. It’s clear that the world of networked individuals will continue to change as the platforms and populations of users continue to evolve.”

Discuss the findings in Digital Home’s On the Web discussion forum.

Comments

One Response to “Study finds Facebook users are a happier bunch”
  1. Reed Solomon says:

    ignorance is bliss