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How People Use Facebook to Convey Depression


Depression and Facebook

Facebook has quickly become a popular way to express your thoughts or feelings. Recent research suggests that young and older Facebook users have very different ways to communicate online and often express different emotions using different terms.

Stereotypes Are Reinforced

Teens and adults use Facebook in stereotypical fashion that is reinforced by the words and topics that are portrayed by users of different age groups. It is no huge surprise that teens often use Facebook to talk about themselves only. The use of “I” and other first person pronouns are very common among teens, but this trend is not shared by adult Facebook users. Most adults on Facebook communicate by talking about others and using second person pronouns. This definitely reiterates the common thought that teens feel the world revolves around them. The emotions expressed by teens are also much more depressed and volatile, while adults often have a positive and tempered outlook.

Popular Facebook Users Write Different Words Than Less Popular Facebook Users

Not only do teens and adults communicate on Facebook by using very different words, but the amount of friends that you have can also be directly linked to the words that are written. Popular Facebook users often update their accounts more regularly and write longer posts that are not directed at just family or past events. Having more friends on Facebook can be directly linked to increased words related to sports and music. However, individuals with fewer Facebook friends have been found to use more expressive or emotional words. Sadness and negative thoughts are often common emotions expressed by individuals with few Facebook friends.

Time and Emotions

Negative emotions expressed on Facebook can be linked to the popularity of the user, but these negative thoughts can also be linked to certain periods of time. Negative thoughts tend to be less expressed in word during the early morning hours of 6 A.M. and 7 A.M. Negative emotions continue to rise and often hit their highest between the hours of 10 P.M. and 2 A.M. This time period is also when positive thoughts are often at their lowest on Facebook.

Negative Comments Receive More Response

Negative or emotional comments that are posted on Facebook often gain the most comments and responses. This can be positive if the comments are encouraging, but it is important to be aware that the thoughts expressed on Facebook can be linked to other factors of age, popularity and time.

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