Social Loneliness and Time Spend and Friends on Facebook

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According to English dictionary, loneliness is defined as the sadness experienced when a person has no company or friends. Loneliness creates anxiousness because an individual lacks communication with others whether in real life or social life. An individual could feel lonely even if they are surrounded by others. The research intends to distinguish whether social media leads to social loneliness amongst people based on time spent online. Social loneliness also led to anxiousness which the study found to be common amongst individuals that contributed most of their time online. The research mostly focused on social loneliness and time spent on social media like Facebook.

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Literature review

Social media is mostly perceived to enhance the connection between people on a 24/7 basis, but the inverse could be true based on research. According to Hosie and Rachel, the research found that spending at least two hours daily on social networks might let a person feel socially isolated more than twice, (2). Researchers questioned 1,787 students from Pittsburgh University whose ages ranged 19 to 32 asked about the most common social networks they visited and reasons. The research was performed in 2014, and the students named common websites they visited including Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Vine, LinkedIn, and Snapchat.

The study performed in the university found that individuals that frequented social networks at least 50 times on a weekly basis because three times more likely to become lonely, unlike the rest that did not use the social networks more than ten times. According to Hosie and Rachel, social media leads to the “Fear of Missing Out,” and the problem might become worse in a student case, (3). The researchers did not establish whether social networks led to loneliness or just escalated the loneliness amongst lonely people. The study did not distinguish the one that came first between the perceived social isolation and the social media use amongst the people.

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A separate study intended to determine the impact of social media on envy and loneliness. Instagram and Facebook make individuals connected across geographical boundaries but a lot of time could let a person feel alone. According to Hosie and Rachel, the study identified that when a young person spends their time on social media, the person is likely to feel isolated, (2). Time spent on the social media elicits envious feelings and distorted beliefs that given people are successful and happy lifestyles.  The study proposed that people that became socially isolated turned to social networks as the only hope. Similarly, others caught themselves in the middle of increased use of social media. Both scenarios led to increased feelings of isolation. Spending time online did not help individuals that faced social isolation. It could be possible that the more a person used social media, the higher the chances of isolation amongst the individuals. The research predicted with the study about mental illnesses that were on the rise amongst young adults that related with social isolation.

Human beings are social creatures by default otherwise the modernity of life categorizes people in instead of putting them together. It appeared that social media created an opportunity to fill the social void, but was not the case as the study identified. The outcome of social media on social loneliness increased rather than reducing it.

The more time a person spent on social media, the higher the chances that the person might leave disappointed. Other than spending free time on various activities, social media did not give people the real-world interaction. Spending more time on social media would increase a person’s social loneliness or leave them miserable.

Psychologists realized that social loneliness increases the more times a person visited social sites like Twitter and Facebook.  The social loneliness and isolation of a person were likely to increase depending on the number of hours they spent online. The social networking sites negatively impacted an individual leaving him or her emotionally and socially lonely. Social media enhances interaction through different measures, but in whichever scenario, they elicited envious feelings amongst people. The people that accessed the social media ended disappointed and dull.

Social loneliness emanates from different causes, but social media becomes the least anticipated cause because it is perceived to bring people together in the first case. A comparison between individuals that spent their time on social platforms to those that indulged in other activities indicated that those who spent time on social media became lonely. Social media would not become a probable solution to individuals that are lonely. However, it is not established the extent of isolation that social media caused and the emotional loneliness. The only thing noted was that the more a person visited those sites, the more the individual became lonely. The impact of social media on loneliness might not be the same for older adults. Aged people know the value of real-life relationships, and even if they are social media, they will not become isolated.

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Social media does not offer a long-term solution to individuals who seek it for self-medication of their isolation. The individuals might end up becoming agitated and socially disconnected. When a person becomes emotionally or socially lonely, the more disconnected they would feel about themselves. Social media, therefore, limits a person social connection. The best manner of dealing with social loneliness and emotional loneliness involves creating physical relationships with people that would change our lives and perception of the world.

The study conducted on social loneliness and social media could be limited, and that becomes reason enough to indulge in further research to seek methods of reducing social loneliness amongst individuals. The study did not address several variables, for instance, a Facebook post might elicit a person’s political ambition, while Snapchat post might indicate that a person likes partying or having fun. Social media is a wide platform, and it nowadays contains educative videos and notes apart from posts from friends. The impact of the educative posts might not only become addictive but also informative but not cause isolation.

People nowadays use social media differently to reduce social loneliness. A person might post tweets on Twitter while another prefers browsing pictures about other people’s posts on Instagram. Both scenarios elicit varied forms of social loneliness and emotional impact. A person that tweets, for instance, use the platform to express themselves and might not bother about other people’s posts. A person that browses the posts by others might develop envious feelings about others, thus becoming isolated and emotionally lonely.

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Social loneliness depends on the manner that a person perceives their friendship networks. A person that feels their circles become small might become emotionally incapacitated. A person that does not bother about the impact of their friendship circles might carry on with their lives as normal. The emotional context that one generates their relationships makes them socially lonely or emotionally incapacitated.

Social loneliness does not end at social media because a person might indulge in other activities to reduce their isolation. A person with few friends on social media might feel socially lonely while a person with multiple friends on social media might argue that they are socially connected with many people. It is the feeling of connection from the number of friends that could also impact the emotional and social loneliness of a person.

A person might quantify their friendship networks in real life and social networks. If they realize that they have limited friends in real life, they might seek friends in social platforms.  The posts by friends on social media could make a person feel lonely like a birthday party, graduation or celebration that one did not attend. The person might see a new fashion that he or she does not have or might not afford. The outcome includes loneliness and emotional isolation.

The addiction that associates with drugs culminates on social media, and it might cause deterioration in academic performance. The result is loneliness and emotional disturbance. When one becomes addicted that they cannot do without Twitter for that matter, they will direct their entire concentration leaving no time for studies. Failure in exams causes frustration to a person’s life and feeling of isolation when others excel.

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Research Hypothesis

The research identified certain factors that related with the social loneliness of a person. The factors acted as the base of the research, for instance whether a student likes Facebook as means of socializing tells about their socialization. According to Bangee, Munirah, and Nikola Bridges the amount of time spent online could tell about their social loneliness status, (2). The first hypothesis is that social networks increase a person’s social loneliness or isolation. The hypothesis comes from the questionnaire survey that asked about whether became proud of using Facebook and their reactions if Facebook shut down and the number of friends they had on Facebook.

The number of friends in Facebook community related to a person’s social loneliness level. A person with many friends perceived that as a form of prestige while people with few friends perceived that as a form of isolation. The relation led to the formation of the second hypothesis that the number of friends on a social network account like Twitter or Facebook determined a person’s social loneliness level.

The survey involved different groups, and they got subjected to different questions about the reasons they became lonely and whether accessing Facebook changed their loneliness status. Bangee, Munirah, and Nikola Bridges argued that individuals got classified into their year in high school, gender, political affiliation and interests during their free time, (3). The groups were asked if they logged into Facebook during free time. They were asked if they were proud of Facebook, the length of time spent online and the impact they would feel if Facebook got shut.

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Results

The results of the research indicated that loneliness got visible in different groups. The survey identified various loneliness levels for individuals that interacted with others. The loneliness levels got assessed for people that engaged in community building programs or just exploring new things around them. The loneliness levels got evaluated for people that liked making new friends.

t-test:

Graph 1: Loneliness against Facebook

 

SUMMARY OUTPUT

Figure 1:

 
   
Regression Statistics
Multiple R 0.168511799
R Square 0.028396226
Adjusted R Square 0.022045875
Standard Error 0.418937901
Observations 155

The square of R becomes 0.0283 which translated into 2.83% as the total amount of social loneliness that could get accounted for in social media. The graph above accounted for 2.83% of a person’s social loneliness otherwise the 97.17% gets determined by other environmental factors. The rest of the factors that related with social loneliness included activities that reduced or increased social loneliness.  Physical connections with individuals gave people real-life interactions that might reduce social loneliness and emotional problems.

Other factors that reduced emotional and social loneliness included involvement in community projects because it gave one the touch with the environment. Interaction with people in the environment gave a person the reason to make sustainable friendships that reduced their social loneliness levels. Making new friendship ties makes a person part of the community and less lonely.

Graph 2: Loneliness against No friends

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY OUTPUT

Figure 2:

 
   
Regression Statistics
Multiple R 0.176239502
R Square 0.031060362
Adjusted R Square 0.011809906
Standard Error 0.421124646
Observations 155

The graph above has an R squared value of 0.0310 that means it accounted for only 3.1% of the social loneliness levels amongst people. The remaining 96.9% gets determined by other elements. The number of friends that one has on social media was assumed to relate with the social loneliness levels of a person. When a person has few friends they might feel rejected by the society and end becoming isolated. If a person had many friends let us say two hundred, they might feel they have many friends and people that look up to them, which reduces their social loneliness status.

Table 1:

Friends   1 2 3 4 5 6
<100 1 3.123708911 3.094027657 3.064346404 3.03466515 3.004983897 2.975302643
101-200 2 3.165504265 3.141750311 3.117996357 3.094242404 3.07048845 3.046734496
201-300 3 3.207299618 3.189472965 3.171646311 3.153819657 3.135993004 3.11816635
301-400 4 3.249094972 3.237195618 3.225296265 3.213396911 3.201497557 3.189598203
>400 5 3.290890326 3.284918272 3.278946218 3.272974164 3.267002111 3.261030057

The data indicates the social loneliness level for people based on their friendship networks on social networks. A person with few friends might experience the highest amount of social and emotional loneliness. The person might feel that because they know they do not have people that look up to them or like their status updates.

A person whose online post or picture attracted the least amount of viewers might become frustrated, irrespective of the number of friends.  A person whose post attracted the highest number of views and reactions becomes automatically happy, because the person knows people look up to him or her. Other than the number of friends, additional factors determine the social loneliness that one might experience. Information that one perceives from social network and their physical environment makes them more or less lonely.

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The amount of time that one takes online might have a positive impact or negative impact on their social loneliness. A person that spends time getting informed on latest updates around the world uses social media as an educative place. Such people have little to worry about the number of friends in their social network circles but the information and updates they acquire from social media.

A separate study intended to determine the impact of social media on envy and loneliness. Instagram and Facebook makes individuals connected across geographical boundaries but a lot of time could let a person feel alone. The study identified that when a young person spends their time on social media, the person is likely to feel isolated. Time spent on the social media elicits envious feelings and distorted beliefs that given people are successful and happy lifestyles.

Conclusion

Social and emotional loneliness got determined by multifaceted elements, other than social media. A person that spent their time online became isolated in lieu of getting happy. Social networks generated an envious feeling about the flashy lifestyles they saw about others. The number of friends made one feel isolated or less lonely. A person with less than a hundred friends on social networks felt inferior and ended socially lonely.  A person that had many friends who also reacted to their posts made them feel happy. Other elements that reduced social loneliness included involving oneself with environment development and creating opportunities for oneself. Making physical interactions enables one not to seek happiness online thus, becoming happy with real friends. A real-life interaction becomes the most suitable method of making long term friendships that reduce a person’s stress levels.

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Did you like this sample?
  1. Bangee, Munirah, and Nikola Bridges. “Loneliness And Attention To Social Threat In Young Adults: Findings From An Eye Tracker Study.” Personality and Individual Differences 63 (2014): 16-23. Web.
  2. “Feeling Lonely? Social Media May Have Something To Do With It.” Cbsnews.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Dec. 2017.
  3. Hosie, Rachel. “Stop Using Facebook, Immediately.” The Independent. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Dec. 2017.
  4. Molloy, Mark. “Too Much Social Media ‘Increases Loneliness And Envy’ – Study.” The Telegraph. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Dec. 2017.
  5. “Social Media Makes People More Antisocial As It Causes Loneliness Among The Young.” Express.co.uk. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Dec. 2017.
  6. “Social Media May Be Making You Feel More Lonely.” HuffPost UK. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Dec. 2017.
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