Receiving ‘likes’ on social media posts doesn’t make people feel better about themselves or improve their mood if they are down.
These are the findings of a preliminary study presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Brighton on Wednesday 3 May 2017, by Dr Martin Graff from University of South Wales.
A total of 340 participants recruited via Twitter and Facebook completed personality questionnaires. They were also asked to say how much they agreed or disagreed with 25 statements relating to the ways people appreciate being valued on social media. For example ‘the attention I get from social media makes me feel good’ or ‘I consider someone popular based on the amount of likes they get’.
Analysis revealed that participants who said they went out of their way to get more likes (such as asking others or paying) were more likely to have low self-esteem and be less trusting. The same was true of those who admitted deleting posts or making a picture their profile picture on account of the number of likes it received.
The results also showed that receiving likes didn’t actually make people feel any better about themselves or make them feel better when they were down.
Dr Graff said: “The proliferation of social media use has led to general concerns about the effects on our mental health. Although this is just a relatively small scale study the results indicate that the ways we interact with social media can affect how we feel and not always positively.”