People Who Use Social Media are More Likely to be Lonely

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While social media allows us to build our network and connect to our loved ones, and even to individuals we have just met, new studies show that social media has an adverse effect.

Social media contributes to the fear of missing out or FOMO. Spending long hours on social media also eats up time an individual would have for creating and maintaining meaningful and real relationships. While social media gives the opportunity to fill social voids, it could very much make that hole much deeper. A study at the University of Pittsburg found that people who visit social networks over 58 times a week are three times more likely to feel lonely than those use the sites under nine times.

And I can attest to this. I, and a lot of my friends, have deleted at least one or more social media app on our phone before for “life cleansing” purposes. My mind knew that lives people build of themselves on social media are illusions – no one actually goes on Instagram and posts the latest picture depicting their unhappy relationship with their parents or of their deepest insecurities. Despite knowing that, my heart would still ache a little when I was sitting at home on Friday night while other people I knew were out with their friends, even though I wanted to do nothing more but sit at home on that Friday night. This made me question my own self and whether my priorities or preferences were good enough. I was extremely unhappy.

Then, sophomore year of college, I deleted Snapchat for about six months. It was a wonderful experience. I started enjoying my own life without worrying about posting pictures or looking at what others were doing. With Facebook and Instagram, I developed a healthier relationship because I discovered the value of appreciating your own life and your own choices.

I love that through social media, I can see my family members pictures or keep up with events going on in my community at the University of Georgia. The importance of maintaining a balance, however, is something that is of great significance to me. I have given this advice about social media to friends before, and the ones who went through a cleanse themselves have emerged feeling more content and happy with their own lives.

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17 thoughts on “People Who Use Social Media are More Likely to be Lonely

  1. Laura Sommerville says:

    I completely agree! Social media definitely has its pros and cons, but I find that I have to constantly remind myself that it isn’t something that can or should substitute meaningful, in-person interactions. I’ve also done social media “cleanses” and they’re great for putting things into perspective .

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  2. Katherine Story says:

    This is so true! FOMO is something I definitely feel on a regular basis and I wish social media didn’t have to come with the one-upness part. It’s great to see what friends and family are up to but sometimes I feel like it’s all a show. So cool you found a study that explains these feelings!

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  3. cribbsblog says:

    I thought it was really interesting that you focused on the fact that people don’t often post their true selves to social media. People are often putting up false portrayals of themselves, which leads others to be caught in this cycle. We don’t see people’s struggles on social media very often, only their highlights. This can lead us to feel alone in our personal struggles, like no one else suffers through tough times in life.

    While social media has undoubtably made us more connected, often we need to step back and say, “Is this helping me grow my relationships with people?” Instead of having 10-15 close friendships, now we focus on having hundreds of distant ones. I don’t think that’s the way to live.

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  4. darcygodwin4450 says:

    I completely agree! Social media is extremely addictive to me, and sometimes I believe I am using it for purposes that are completely unnecessary and time consuming. I love how connected I feel to people with it, but it has lessened or intervened with relationships in ways that I see now are unhealthy.

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  5. Elizabeth Munday says:

    We had a similar discussion in a class my freshman year, except we focused on the communication piece of it. We have more communication media today than we’ve ever had, but our generation simply can’t communicate. We get stuck in our phones because we feel safe behind the screen. As you mentioned, no one has to know about our shortcomings on the internet, so we hide them and create this great life that would make anyone jealous. However, this leads to anxiety around actually getting to know people, because then they could find out that we’re not perfect.
    I didn’t know they had done research on this. It’s really good to know.

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  6. Janie Hester says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Checking Snapchat is where I find myself having some serious FOMO. And you’re right-even when I actively choose to stay in, I still experience FOMO when I open social media. Social media can be a major double-edged sword.

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  7. Claire Sussman says:

    I agree so much! Sometimes when I look at social media I can feel left out or feel like I appear to be left out. It is so interesting how we all base what we actually perceive as the world and people off of photos and videos from online. It makes me sad how many people actually get depressed over comparing themselves to people online.

    It also has decreased social skills and humans are losing the ability to interact with one another. I worked at a summer camp this summer and it was really refreshing to see how close you could get to people without technology in the way.

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  8. socialmedia2017blog says:

    I totally agree with this! Social media is so essential in the business world, but really just takes away from our personal lives. I stay clear of Snap Chat because people who use it stay on it constantly and lack actual human interaction. People crave social attention and interaction so much they don’t know how to be happy on their own anymore.

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  9. Emily Fernandez says:

    I totally agree with the thought that a balance is key when it comes to social media. While these sites and outlets have the ability to connect people across the globe, it is best when used in small doses as it can have various effects on people’s psychological states and self-esteem. People have developed a habit of hiding behind a screen and established an intense desire for attention.

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  10. Diana Sandate says:

    Such a very good read. Our generation knows very well how addictive it can be, we have also seen how many people hide behind a screen. I mean look at all the people that are online just to bully others and are always making negative comments. It’s great that we can connect with every one, but I think we need to start disconnecting some from the media.

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  11. Emily L. says:

    The FOMO thing is so real…I honestly feel the same way as you. Although I appreciate being able to stay up-to-date on family and long-distance friends, it can be very time-consuming and sometimes I find it evoking feelings that I should be doing something. I’ve never actually tried a cleanse but I do make sure that I take time off of my phone to do things that can better me as a person–including maintaining real-life friendships. Social media is both a blessing and a curse.

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  12. firstchancedigital says:

    This is very true for a lot of people. Some people are not inversely affected by social media and actually use it an outlet to meet with friends face to face, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that younger generations are completely substituting it with physical interaction.

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  13. trentfordhamblog says:

    Completely agree with you on this. Every time I see a fun picture or video on a social media site I get a little fomo about it and wish I could have been there for the opportunity to post a similar pic. It’s interesting to know other people think the same.

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  14. MJ says:

    A balance is needed/necessary! People can’t focus too much on digital or they will start forgetting basic human interaction skills (My younger step siblings lol)

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