Why we love Facebook so much: It taps the brain’s pleasure center
A recent one discovered a strong connection between Facebook and the brain’s reward center, called the nucleus accumbens. This area processes rewarding feelings about things like food, sex, money and social acceptance.
When we get positive feedback on Facebook, the feeling lights up this part of our brain. The greater the intensity of our Facebook use, the greater the reward.
Another fascinating study recorded physiological reactions like pupil dilation in volunteers as they looked at their Facebook accounts to find that browsing Facebook can evoke what they call flow state, the feeling you get when you’re totally and happily engrossed in a project or new skill.
“The Like is the wordless nod of support in a loud room. It’s the easiest of yesses, I-agrees, and me-toos. I actually felt pangs of guilt over not liking some updates, as though the absence of my particular Like would translate as a disapproval or a withholding of affection. I felt as though my ability to communicate had been somehow hobbled. The Like function has saved me so much comment-typing over the years that I likely could have written a very quippy, War-and-Peace-length novel by now.”
One element of Facebook that we may not realize is how often we use the Like to affirm something about ourselves.
And sometimes we like in order to show solidarity or unity with a friend or acquaintance and their way of thinking. Social media can be a way of gaining “virtual empathy”—and that empathy can have real-world implications.
spending more time using social networks and engaging in instant message chats predicted more ability to be virtual empathicand that virtual empathy was a good indicator of being able to express real-world empathy.
Whereas our reasons for not liking a brand focus on privacy and quality of the social media experience:
Why we comment
The answer to this one may seem kinda obvious—we comment when we have something to say!
“People who received composed communication became less lonely, while people who received one-click communication experienced no change in loneliness,” she said…. Even better than sending a private Facebook message is the semi-public conversation, the kind of back-and-forth in which you half ignore the other people who may be listening in.
the same study showed that “oversharing” was one of Facebook’s biggest annoyances for users:
Posting makes us feel connected
Researchers at the University of Arizona monitored a group of students and tracked their “loneliness levels” while posting Facebook status updates. The study found that when students updated their Facebook statuses more often, they reported lower levels of loneliness:
This was true even if no one liked or commented on their posts! Researcher link the drop in loneliness to an increase in feeling more socially connected.
On the other hand, when people see their social media statuses are not being engaged with as much as their peers, they can begin to feel like they don’t belong
Researchers theorize that people are more likely to self-censor when they feel their audience is hard to define.
Why we share: A guide to more shareable content
To bring valuable and entertaining content to one another.
To define ourselves to others.
To grow and nourish our relationships.
To get the word out about causes they care about.
One more thing we know about what gets shared: High-share content tends to trigger a high-arousal emotion, like amusement, fear or anger, as opposed to a low-arousal emotion like sadness or contentment.
One last note: What happens when we lurk and don’t participate
A 2010 study from Carnegie Mellon found that, when people engaged on Facebook—posting, messaging, Liking, etc.—their feelings of general social capital increased, while loneliness decreased. But when the study participants simply lurked, Facebook acted in the opposite way, increasing their sense of loneliness and isolation.
According to researcher Moira Burke, lurking on Facebook correlates to an increase in depression. “If two women each talk to their friends the same amount of time, but one of them spends more time reading about friends on Facebook as well, the one reading tends to grow slightly more depressed,”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.