The study from the University of Berlin monitored 86 students over a one week period, with the students recording how Facebook usage affected their moods. It found that the students who updated their Facebook statuses more often reported lower levels of loneliness. The researchers found that responses to status updates weren’t a factor in whether or not the students felt more or less lonely.
79% of the status updates posted during the study received some kind of response, but the level of responses did not make the students feel they were any more connected to their friends. The researchers likened the effect of reducing loneliness through status updates to the equivalent for having a snack as opposed to a main meal, in effect satisfying a short term hunger.
By sharing something about themselves, they were involving their friends in their lives so felt they were making a deeper, more personal connection, lessening any feelings of loneliness.
This was a small scale study, but the results were interesting enough to invite further investigation.
Does posting on Facebook make you feel more or less lonely?