What lonely people seek from Facebook

This is an interesting article on Facebook usage. If you notice that a friend is spending lots of time on their FB, perhaps it’s time to give them a call and arrange to meet for a coffee and a chat. Ask about how they are doing, is there anything you can do and then book a date in the diary for a next meeting. It may be all they need;

We often hear it said that people who use Facebook suffer deteriorating social relationships due to their excessive online preoccupation. However, we know from previous research that people use social media for different reasons, reflecting their “Facebook personality.” The fact remains that a common perception of Facebook users is that, over time, their online habits cause their real-life social relationships to deteriorate.

According to the displacement hypothesis, the time that people spend on with their virtual social partners displaces the time they spend with their real ones in FtF (“face to face”) interaction. If you’re spending 3 or 4 hours a day on Facebook, you won’t have enough time to invest in your relationships with your loved ones and friends. Furthermore, if you’re in your online world, the displacement hypothesis argues, you’ll have less of the time and incentive you need to meet new people who might become your friends or loved ones.

As reviewed by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee communications researcher Hayeon Song and colleagues (2014), prior evidence has suggested that when people spend a great deal of time on Facebook, their social networks shrink. They tend to retreat within themselves, eventually becoming depressed, lonely, and dissatisfied with their lives.

However, as Song et al. point out, there’s also evidence to support the social augmentation hypothesis. According to this view, loneliness causes excessive Facebook use. People who don’t have many friends or close family nearby may seek out Facebook as a source of social interaction to fulfill their needs for affiliation. They may also be trying to compensate for their lack of social skills in FtF interactions.

(Original article: Psychology Today

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