Whether it improves or decreases well-being depends on how and why people use it and who uses it.
Social networks have revolutionized the way humans interact, giving them unprecedented opportunities to meet their social needs.
A research explosion has examined whether social media has an impact on well-being. First- and second-generation research examining this issue yielded inadequate results.
A new set of third-generation experiments has begun to reveal small but significant negative effects on the overall well-being of social media.
The results of these experiments hide the complexities that characterize the relationship between social media and well-being.
Whether well-being improves or decreases depends on how and why people use it and who uses it.
People use social media for a variety of reasons (e.g., managing impressions, sharing emotions), which affects how they affect their well-being and that of other people.
In a relatively short period of time, social networks have transformed the way humans interact, and many have wondered what effect this interactive revolution could have on people’s emotional lives. .
Over the past 15 years, an explosion of research has explored this issue, sparking so much research and intense debate. Although early research led to inappropriate findings, several experiments have shown that the use of social media has small negative effects on well-being.
However, these results hide a set deeper complexities. The accumulation of evidence indicates that social media can improve or diminish well-being considering how people use them. Future research is needed to advance the knowledge of this model using stronger models.
Puzzle: Do social media affect well-being?
Mankind has been working for more than 2,000 years with the idea of building a machine capable of spreading ideas around the world quickly, before working on all the pieces needed for Johannes Gutenberg, in the mid-1400s. on the coasts. The Ill river in Strasbourg. Gutenberg invented the mobile type (think of a metal scrabble game) as a technique for pressing paper and ink to create a printed page (https://www.britannica.com/biography/ Johannes- Gutenberg).
Before Gutenberg’s invention, it took 2 months to produce a single copy of a book. Now printers can produce 8,000 copies at a time.
The impact the press had on society over the next 100 years was transformative. Suddenly, people were able to read each other’s ideas, convey new concepts, and respond to what others were thinking. The press will help scientists and innovators to spread their discoveries, acting as the main agents of the Enlightenment.
However, the printing press brought negative results. The democratization of ideas proliferated any idea, including those that fostered hatred and fear. For example, the Protestant Reformation, a particularly violent period in European history, was driven by the ease with which Martin Luther was able to spread beliefs that were considered heretical at the time (https://www.history.com/news/printing – press revival). Looking at it from the turn of the century, the invention of the printing press provides a fitting analogy for the world in which we live.
In the early 2000s, social media proliferated and once again revolutionized the way we communicate with the world. About 4 billion people use Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, three of the most popular social media platforms, to share and consume information (https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks- sorted by number of users /) .
Given the transformative impact this technology has had on society, it is not surprising that people around the world have an interest in understanding how these media affect their emotional lives.
Over the last 15 years a research study has addressed this issue. However, the results of this work are not very accurate. While some research indicates that social media harms well-being, other research suggests the opposite or that social media has no effect on this aspect of people’s lives. These seemingly contradictory sets of findings have sparked a heated debate among scientists, and have confused many.
Given this broader context, the goals of this review are to synthesize what we have learned about the relationship between social media and well-being to highlight future research directions that are critical to carrying out this work.
To predict our conclusion, our analysis suggests that, like print, there is nothing inherently “good” or “bad” on social media.
It depends on how and why people use or harm their well-being, and who uses them (Figure 1).
Research has shown for decades that when we experience strong positive and negative emotions, we have a strong motivation to share them. According to Rime’s Theory of Emotions for Social Exchange, doing so helps us achieve two goals: to satisfy our socio-emotional needs, which is to get support from others to help us validate our feelings, normalize our experiences, and taste positive situations. and the cognitive needs that come with receiving advice from others to help make sense of our experiences.
Social networks offer people unprecedented opportunities to achieve these goals by instantly connecting with those close to them (i.e., binding social capital) and more distant ones (i.e., social capital bridging). In fact, many studies indicate that social media offers it an opinion that satisfies socio-emotional needs improves people’s (i.e., “emotional support”) and cognitive (i.e., “information support”) and perceived and received social support.
In some cases, the benefits that people get from social media outweigh the benefits that they get in the real world. For example, a couple of studies have found that people with depression who receive no depression tend to receive less support than offline people who receive more support on social media.
As with research on social comparisons, there are observations related to these findings. For example, the more you interact with network members and the faster they receive their responses, the more support you will have. Moreover, for reasons that are not yet clear, men, Euro-Americans, and younger students come out less likely than women, Asians, and older students with the help of social media.
However, current research acknowledges that social media reinforces people’s real and perceived support, variables that are of paramount importance to well-being.
But just as social media offers us new opportunities to reach out and provide support, it also allows us to share ways to hurt our feelings for others. In this regard, a wealth of literature shows that social media provides people with platforms cyberbullying and trawling, moderate prevalence antisocial behaviors (10-40%) [85,86]) that have a negative impact on the well-being of others.
Even individual differences determine who is involved in these roles [85,90], promote certain features of social networks. For example, social networks remove signals that trigger empathic responses in face-to-face interactions, which limit aggressive behavior. They also make it easier for people to share their emotions when they reach the peak and have a greater motivation to do so.
Social media also has a role to play in dissemination moral anger It contributes to the dehumanization of others and can reduce collective action and deepen social divisions.
Emerging evidence suggests that social media is particularly adept at spreading anger.
For example, a sampling study of experiences showed that people tended to interact and respond to expressions of moral anger more online than online (probably including social media).
Together, these findings demonstrate that social media provides us with another platform to satisfy our desire to share emotions with others. In some cases, these disclosures are linked to positive welfare outcomes, providing individuals with new opportunities for social assistance. However, they can also promote negative outcomes by providing a platform for cyberbullying, trolling, and the spread of hatred.
Social networks, like printers, represent a kind of disruptive technology that appears once in a generation. Over the past 15 years, science has done an admirable job of advancing our understanding of the impact these media have on our well-being, but the work is by no means complete.
Many questions remain. Given the energy and enthusiasm that characterizes the work in this area and the tremendous level of talent that works to answer these questions, we believe the findings will come in the next 15 years to understand how this ubiquitous technology affects our lives. emotional life.