How do you feel when no one likes your post or photo on Facebook? Well, a new study has found that rejection on social media, even if unintended, can lower your self-esteem and affect your sense of belonging.
According to TheAge.com, researchers in Australia did an experiment in which some Facebook users were not allowed to share information, while others didn’t receive feedback on their updates. Both groups had lower levels of belonging, control, self-esteem and even a lower sense of meaning in life.
One of the users who was prevented from posting anything said: "I did not enjoy having to stop sharing on social media! I felt like being grounded and watching my friends play outside..."
Lead researcher Stephanie Tobin points out that social media is different from having a one-on-one, face-to-face conversation where you receive non-verbal feedback from the person you’re talking to. She says with Facebook, “When you put something out there, people don't have that sense of obligation to respond right away."
Dr. Tobin says that if the need for belonging isn’t being met through Facebook, people will go elsewhere for positive reinforcement.
Sociologist Brady Robards says that may explain the increasing popularity of social networking apps such as Snapchat and Instagram.
By the way, the research team found that as new Facebook features become available, users are beginning to develop new habits. These include grouping their best friends and unsubscribing from all their friends' news feeds. Instead more people are manually checking individual profiles to get their updates.
For an interesting faith perspective on social networking, go to Relevant Magazine.com and look for the article “Is Facebook Killing Our Souls?” I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.