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Social Media Love: Low Self-esteem or Great Happiness?


Albums of dozens of pictures in which He and She are happily kissing, holding hands, walking in the park, or billing at a table in a café. “May this fairy tale never ends!!!” — and lots of likes, emoticons, and enthusiastic comments on each other’s profiles. Why are they doing that? A team of scientists from Albright College in Reading (USA) tried to figure it out.

Social Media Love: Recent Research

Scientists studied a group of volunteers with experience of romantic relationships from one month to 30 years. The subjects reported satisfaction with their relationships and their partner’s Internet habits like sharing photos of each other or visiting each other’s social media profiles, including, etc.

In parallel, the participants of the experiment passed tests in which they had to assess their own traits, known in psychology as the “big five” qualities that determine an individual’s personality:

  • extraversion/introversion,
  • benevolence,
  • bona fides,
  • neuroticism, and
  • openness to experience.

Surprising Results

The first conclusion of the study was quite predictable. People with low self-esteem are more prone to an online demonstration of romantic feelings. More precisely, those of them whose self-esteem strongly depends on the opinions of others. For such people, social approval is crucial. By demonstrating on social networks that their relationship is in apple-pie order, they thereby strive to show that they themselves are in kelter.

Another result obtained was less evident. Introverts have been found to show their romantic feelings more strongly on social media than extroverts. In a sense, this contradicts the findings of several previous studies, which showed that extroverts are more active and sociable on the Internet.

However, researchers suggest that the explanation may be that extroverts are more able (and more skillful) to talk about their romantic relationships in real-life communication. Introverts, on the other hand, who have a narrow social circle, are more comfortable talking about such an intimate sphere as romantic feelings online.

Finally, one more conclusion, which, perhaps, will soften skeptics and make them look at friends’ posts full of love tenderness more forbearingly. Research has shown that people who tend to show their love feelings on social media are more satisfied with the relationship in real life. In other words, “sweet” pictures, passionate mutual confessions, and continuous likes to each other do not necessarily mean that their authors seek to increase self-esteem or are embarrassed to express their feelings in real life. They are probably just very, very happy.

Final Words

There are over 8,000 dating sites in the world now. According to The Economist, every month more than 200 million people worldwide use social networks to find a soulmate. And in America, more than 1/3 of all couples appeared thanks to applications like Tinder. For Americans, the Internet is the second most popular way to meet a potential soulmate. Thus, online dating is a huge social experiment that is being carried out on a vital and intimate process for all of humanity. But its results are just becoming visible.

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