In this article, we will handle what impact social networking platforms have on the loneliness of people. We will first give an introduction to the theme. Secondly, we will give an overview of the loneliness in the population despite the use of social media. Thereafter we will discuss what impact Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have on loneliness, in that exact order. Lastly, we will give a conclusion about the subject, which basically consists in Instagram offering a positive solution to loneliness. So if you want to invest in social media, go for Instagram. You can buy real Instagram followers so if you post a picture they will interact with you.
With the coming of numerous digital technologies, people are more connected to each other than ever before. This is because the creation of social networking sites makes it easier to communicate with each other. A social network can be defined as applications and webpages that enable people to share and create content with networks they made for themselves. Examples of such social networking sites are; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many more. In a study, they found that approximately 90% of smartphone users between the age of 20 and 29 years old used some kind of social networking site at least once.
Lonelier despite easier communication
You would expect an overall increase in psychological wellbeing, because of the increased interpersonal connectivity that social networking sites bring with them. But on the contrary, people are getting lonelier, even in countries with the highest use of social networking sites. According to a survey that was taken nation-wide, a bit less than 50% of British adults believe that people in the United Kingdom are getting lonelier with time. More than 40% of the people that took the survey reported that they feel lonely sometimes, and about 40% reported that they felt depressed with the cause being that they were feeling or being alone. Furthermore, most of the people that reported feeling lonely were between the age of 18 and 34 years.
Loneliness is mostly defined as the feelings someone has when his or her personal network or social relations are deficient in an important way. But how can it be that we are getting lonelier even when we have something like social media to stay connected with each other? To get an answer to that question we need to know how people utilize their social relationships through social media nowadays.
With the advancing of bandwidth and technology, the communicative abilities of cell phones have gone from texting to sending pictures, audio files, videos, and even sending a live transmission of very high-quality videos. You would think that the increase in definition and realism of communication applications would make people feel more connected with each other and as a consequence feel less lonely. But because of the rate social media is developing and different platforms are created every other day, it is very difficult to examine how specific platforms affect the loneliness of people.
Facebook and loneliness
It was found that the two primary motivating factors for the use of Facebook are the need for self-presentation and the need to belong. When you compare Facebook to direct messaging, the later of the two is primarily used for maintaining individual relationships, Facebook is more pointed towards knowing what’s going on in other people’s lives and having fun. A study found that lonely people are more likely to use Facebook as a way to compensate for a lack of real life, offline relationships. A different study found that people share pictures to gratify needs of affection, disclosure, attention seeking, social influence, information sharing, and habit.
Twitter and loneliness
Twitter, which was launched shortly after Facebook, is also a very popular social network platform. The difference between the two is that Twitter has a maximum of characters you can use in one message; this number is 140-characters. A study found that the more a person uses Twitter, the more it gratifies a need for connection. It was also found that people that pursue gratifications like socializing, information seeking and status seeking were more likely to share content on social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Instagram and loneliness
Instagram, which was launched in 2010, is something like a picture version of Twitter, but instead of posting messages of a maximum of 140-characters, you post filtered pictures or videos. It was found that the self-report of loneliness dropped when people were more active on Instagram. But how is it possible that Instagram has a positive impact on loneliness and Facebook and Twitter have a negative impact? A reason for this can be that pictures with family and friends are among the most popular pictures, and in consequence get more likes than other pictures. When you post a picture with friends or family on them, the chance you get a like is almost 40% higher and the chances of getting a comment are over 30% higher.
Snapchat and loneliness
Snapchat, which was released in 2011, is something entirely different from the other discussed social networking platforms. People send pictures or videos to each other, but in contrary to other social networking platforms the content self-destruct after a set amount of time. Mostly anywhere between three to ten seconds. This is the first social networking platform that offers to create content that is non-permanent. An explanation can be that because the content is not permanent, people will send silly pictures of themselves to people that they confide with and that the picture can’t be seen by others. These casual expressions are more alike to what friends might do or experience with face-to-face interaction.
We began this article explaining that even though we are more connected than ever, we are still lonely, and if social networking platforms have an influence on this. From the information found we can conclude that while Facebook and Twitter have a negative impact on loneliness, Instagram appears to have a positive influence. The influence of Snapchat on loneliness is not clear because of the lack of research, but we suspect it has a positive influence. So if you ever feel a bit lonely, post some pictures of friends and family on your Instagram. Social media can help to feel less lonely, but never see social media as a cure for loneliness or depression.