Is Facebook becoming the ‘confessional’ of the digital age?

Seeking ‘likes’ from friends can encourage acceptance and forgiveness for our deeds. (pic courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/

Facebook: a platform for perfectly groomed self-promotion, or an explorative ‘confessional’ place to discover your feelings and identify ways to improve yourself? Most of us might think the former, but a researcher into the creative industries thinks otherwise.

The act of posting your achievements for all your Facebook friends to admire, from your latest DIY success to the number of miles you’ve run this week – as well as sometimes admitting to some mistakes you’ve made along the way – can apparently make you more self-reflective. And this can lead to more self-awareness and personal growth, according to Dr Theresa Sauter from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation in Australia.

Showing off what’s been good about your day proves that you’re doing OK in life. And sharing what hasn’t gone so well shows awareness that your behaviour may not be top notch – especially when friends can ‘like’ or comment on what you’ve posted, says the research.

“It can become a therapeutic tool that helps people discover how they feel and how they can improve themselves,” says Dr Sauter.

I think there are two interesting ideas to emerge from this piece of research. (more…)

Anxiety + alcohol = emotional attachment to Facebook, says study

Anxious students who use alcohol are more likely to connect with others through Facebook. (pic:

Anxious students who use alcohol are more likely to connect with others through Facebook. (pic:

Students who feel lonely and anxious and who turn to alcohol are more likely to have an emotional attachment to Facebook. That’s the main finding of a study carried out at the University of Missouri.

The research among 229 students discovered that Facebook was a way to connect with others when feeling lonely or anxious – and those with higher levels of anxiety and alcohol use were more inclined to turn to Facebook to ease their anxieties.

“People who perceive themselves to be anxious are more likely to want to meet and connect with people online, as opposed to a more social, public setting,” says study author Russell Clayton. “Also, when people who are emotionally connected to Facebook view pictures and statuses of their Facebook friends using alcohol, they are more motivated to engage in similar online behaviors in order to fit in socially.”

Students who use marijuana were reported not to have emotional connectedness with Facebook.

Looking at old photographs can cheer you up

anima photographs

Reminiscing over old photographs can soothe your emotions.

Looking through old photographs can be good for your mental health and your memory. Even flicking through your pics and posts on Facebook can boost your wellbeing, according to new research.

The University of Portsmouth found that three-quarters of people they studied looked at their own photos on Facebook when they were feeling low so they could ‘self-soothe’. It can be comforting to reminisce about happier times, she says, and looking at your pics can be “as soothing as a walk in the park”.

Psychologist Dr Clare Wilson from the University of Portsmouth says looking at our photos is a way of connecting with our past selves when our present selves need reassurance. She adds: “When in the grip of a negative mood, it is too easy to forget how good we often feel. Our positive posts can remind us of this.”

This form of ‘reminiscence therapy’ – connecting with old memories to self-soothe and help stop depressive moods getting worse – can be practised anytime, anywhere: the study showed that 70% of people prefer to access their Facebook photos and posts via their phones.