Based on research by Forest, Amanda, & Wood, Joanne. (2012)., written by Mara Rowcliffe, BS.
Do you struggle with making social connections? Can using social networking websites strengthen your relationships?
Psychology researchers Joanne Wood and Amanda Forest explained that websites such as Facebook make it easier for individuals with low self-esteem to engage in self-disclosure, necessary for developing intimacy. They evaluated 80 Facebook users by measuring their self-esteem and how Facebook helps them express themselves. Participants were asked to identify how comfortable they were with self-disclosing on Facebook versus in person. As the researchers anticipated, results showed that participants with lower self esteem viewed Facebook as a safer place to self disclose than those with higher self-esteem. In addition, those with lower self esteem also indicated that the social networking website offered more opportunities to connect with others compared to the individuals with high self-esteem. However, Facebook status updates showed that participants with low self-esteem express less positivity and more negativity when compared to those with higher self-esteem.
Although individuals with lower self-esteem saw Facebook as a safer place for self-disclosure, their tendency to reveal more negativity may prevent them from gaining positive social benefits. People like and seek positive, happy, energetic friends. On social media, share ideas, but especially the positive aspects of life!
Forest, A. L., & Wood, J. V. (2012). When Social Networking Is Not Working Individuals With Low Self-Esteem Recognize but Do Not Reap the Benefits of Self-Disclosure on Facebook. Psychological Science, 0956797611429709.