According to a new case study, people who actively share selfies on Instagram may have a higher satisfaction level with life. Published in Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, “Instagram photo sharing and its relationships with social rewards and well-being” by Julie Maclean, Yeslam Al-Saggaf, and Rachel Hogg correlates happiness with receiving immediate social affirmation in the form of likes and positive comments.
“Social media technology has become a key influencer of psychological aspects of human emotions, such as well-being… Past research has revealed mixed findings relating to the relationship between the use of [Social Networking Sites] and well-being,” claims Julie Maclean and colleagues.
Collecting 373 responses from a survey advertised on several social media platforms, the researchers recorded information regarding well-being as defined by how much a person believes they are happy with their life. Coming from users that actively shared on Instagram, 22.6% responses from men, 77.1% from women, with one person declining to provide gender information, and about 73% of respondents were younger than 25-years-old (aligning with Instagram’s user demographics).
Results showed a positive link between selfies shared and well-being, a link that was not seen other shared images. It is interesting to note that a greater number of likes and comments did point to more happiness, and negative comments and fewer likes did not affect well-being. Revealing differing levels of importance on positive and negative social rewards and how they influence well-being.
Julie Maclean, Yeslam Al-Saggaf, and Rachel Hogg do acknowledge some limitations to their study, including the exclusion of video sharing and self-reporting.
The researchers end the study with, “Future [Social Networking Sites] technology enhancements should leverage the social rewards concept to allow increased levels of online interactions from photo sharing, particularly in relation to sharing photos of oneself, which seem to correlate with the highest levels of social rewards.”
In case you missed it, Instagram recently officially announced its TikTok competitor, Reels.