Social media websites such as Facebook have become so ingrained in the social psyche that people who do not receive immediate feedback or feel they are being ignored suffered from lack of belonging, lower self-esteem and general despair, a new study conducted by researchers at University of Queensland's School of Psychology reveals.
The findings are a part of two studies that the researchers conducted to test how people felt when they were deliberately snubbed on the social networking site. In the first study, a group of people who regularly used Facebook were recruited, with half of the participants actively posting on the website while the remaining half only observed friends' statuses. The researchers found that not posting for two days led to a negative impact on personal well-being
In the second study, the participants were provided with access to anonymous Facebook accounts and were asked to comment on other people's pages, with half of the participants set up to receive no feedback. The researchers found that in both the studies, the participants who were snubbed admitted to feeling a sense of exclusion and felt 'invisible' and less important as individual.
"Social networking sites, such as Facebook, give people on demand access to reminders of their social relationships and allow them to communicate with others whenever they desire. Our ﬁndings suggest that it is communication, rather than simple use, that is key in producing a sense of belonging. When sharing or feedback is restricted, belonging suffers", the researchers wrote in their report.