Social networking platforms could help in venting out negative emotions: Study

Social networking platforms could be particularly useful for those who feel socially isolated or apprehensive about one-on-one interactions.

At times when you feel nervous about calling a friend to talk about a tough day at work or share a scary medical news, writing a small post on Facebook or Twitter could provide an easy alternative to vent out negative emotions and help restore a sense of well-being, suggests new research.

Representational image.

Representational image.

"When people feel bad, they have a need to reach out to others because this can help reduce negative emotions and restore a sense of well-being," said Eva Buechel, Professor at the University of South Carolina in the US.

"But talking to someone face-to-face or on the phone might feel daunting because people may worry that they are bothering them. Sharing a status update on Facebook or tweet on Twitter allows people to reach out to a large audience in a more undirected manner," Buechel said.

The findings, published online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, suggest that the social networking platforms could be particularly useful for those who feel socially isolated or apprehensive about one-on-one interactions.

Sharing short messages to an audience on a social network is called microblogging.

To test whether people are more likely to microblog when they feel socially apprehensive, Buechel asked participants in one group to write about a time when they had no one to talk to at a party, while the control group wrote about office products.

Then she asked the participants who had an online social network account to log in and spend two minutes on their preferred social network.

When the time ended, she asked people if they had microblogged. The results showed that those who had been led to feel socially apprehensive were more likely to microblog.

"There is a lot of research showing that sharing online is less ideal than having communication in person, but these social networks could be an important communication channel for certain individuals who would otherwise stay isolated," Buechel said.

While there is a danger for those who start to rely on social media as their only form of communication, the study suggests that when used wisely, microblogging can be a valuable means of buffering negative emotions through social interaction.

Tech2 is now on WhatsApp. For all the buzz on the latest tech and science, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Tech2.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.





Top Stories


also see

science