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Getting those thumbs up or heart icons – ‘likes’ – on your social media posts may not help you feel better or improve mood if you are feeling low, researchers say. According to a study, receiving likes did not actually make much of a difference when it came to “happiness”. On the other hand, people who went out of their way to get more likes (such as asking others or paying) were more likely to have low self-esteem and be less trusting.
The same was true of those who admitted deleting posts or making a picture their profile picture on account of the number of likes it received, the researchers said. “The proliferation of social media use has led to general concerns about its effect on our mental health. The results indicate that the ways we interact with social media can affect how we feel and not always positively,” said Martin Graff from University of South Wales in Britain.
The findings were presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Brighton. For the study, a total of 340 participants recruited via Twitter and Facebook completed personality questionnaires. They were also asked to say how much they agreed or disagreed with 25 statements relating to the ways people appreciate being valued on social media. For example ‘the attention I get from social media makes me feel good’ or ‘I consider someone popular based on the amount of likes they get’.