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The effects of social media usage on loneliness and well-being: analysing friendship connections of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Shaoyu Ye (Faculty of Library, Information and Media Science, University of Tsukuba , Ibaraki, Japan)
Kevin K.W. Ho (School of Business and Public Administration, University of Guam , Mangilao, Guam)
Andre Zerbe ( University of Bonn , Bonn, Germany)

Information Discovery and Delivery

ISSN: 2398-6247

Article publication date: 22 February 2021

Issue publication date: 20 May 2021

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996

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to clarify the effects of different patterns of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram usage on user loneliness and well-being in Japan.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on responses to a self-report questionnaire in Japan, 155 university students were separated into 4 groups: users of Twitter only, users of Twitter and Facebook, users of Twitter and Instagram and users of all three social media. The effects of social media usage on loneliness and well-being for each group were analysed.

Findings

No social media usage effects on loneliness or well-being were detected for those who used only Twitter or both Twitter and Instagram. For those using both Twitter and Facebook, loneliness was reduced when users accessed Twitter and Facebook more frequently but was increased when they posted more tweets. Users of all three social media were lonelier and had lower levels of well-being when they accessed Facebook via PC longer; whereas their their access time of Facebook via smartphones helped them decrease loneliness and improve their levels of well-being.

Originality/value

The findings reported here provide possible explanations for the conflicting results reported in previous research by exploring why users choose different social media platforms to communicate with different groups of friends or acquaintances and different usage patterns that affect their loneliness and well-being.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the students who responded to this survey and all the people for their kind support.

Funding: This work was partly supported by the Telecommunication Advancement Foundation/Research Survey Grant (Principle investigator: Dr Shaoyu Ye).

Citation

Ye, S., Ho, K.K.W. and Zerbe, A. (2021), "The effects of social media usage on loneliness and well-being: analysing friendship connections of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram", Information Discovery and Delivery, Vol. 49 No. 2, pp. 136-150. https://doi.org/10.1108/IDD-08-2020-0091

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited