Spoiler Alert: YES + it doesn’t involve how many likes you get
Facebook lovers, rejoice. We no longer have reason to feel embarrassed about our excessive Facebook use.
A study led by two researchers in California watched the activity of 12 million Facebook users and discovered something incredible: Being active on Facebook can lead to a longer life because the site helps nurture real world relationships!
In a given year, the average Facebook user is 12% more likely to live longer than people who don’t use the site at all. But it also depends on how you use it. For example, people with the highest levels of offline activity (shown by the number of photos posted, suggesting there was face-to-face interaction) had the capacity for a longer life. However, online-only interactions, such as writing wall posts or messages, showed the opposite.
The researchers also noted that their research was mainly observational and doesn’t exactly prove their theory. “Interacting online seems to be healthy when the online activity is moderate and complements interactions offline,” said William Hobbs. “It is only on the extreme end, spending a lot of time online with little evidence of being connected to people otherwise, that we see a negative association.”
So is Facebook the fountain of youth? “I can’t give you a prescription for how much to use Facebook,” said Hobbs. “But I think the number one takeaway is that on average, Facebook usage is not bad for you. We can’t say that it’s good for you and that there’s a causal relationship, but certainly the data contradicts the claim that social media usage is bad for you.”
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