An Investigation of Status Posts and Happiness of Facebook Users

Angela V. Galioto, Jennifer L. Hughes, and Chen Zuo,
Agnes Scott College

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Abstract: Online social networking sites have become a way for individuals to keep in contact with others around the world, with Facebook being one of the most popular sites. Facebook allows individuals to express themselves through its features, one of which is the status update. The authors examined whether or not there was a relationship between the content and frequency of Facebook users’ status posts and their happiness. The researchers had three hypotheses: (a) users who reported more happiness would have more positive posts, (b) younger users would post more frequently and post more negative content, (c) women would post more frequently and post more negative content as compared to men, and (d) frequent posts would contain more negative content. The study included 412 participants of which 89 percent were female. The participants completed an online survey, giving their three most recent status posts, and they completed a happiness scale. A positive correlation between age and happiness was found, men posted more frequently than women, and a negative relationship between frequency of status posts and positive content was found. This study adds to the literature on Facebook and users’ happiness. For future studies researchers should measure both personality and life satisfaction along with the content of Facebook posts.

An Investigation of Status Posts and Happiness of Facebook Users: In today’s world, face-to-face interaction is no longer the only means to interact socially. Social networking sites are becoming more popular as users continue to use these sites as means of staying connected with others. The largest social networking site is Facebook, which boasts the greatest number of users around the world.

Founded in 2004, Facebook was first launched as a site to help keep Harvard students in touch with one another (Facebook, 2013). As of March 2013, Facebook reported 665 million daily active users, an increase of 26 percent from March 2012 and in July 2013, and 1.15 billion active monthly users. Facebook allows for users to post status updates, pictures, post on friends’ walls and message them, play online games, and much more. Facebook also serves as a platform for individual expression and disclosure, for personal and social reasons. This study seeks to expand the Facebook literature by examining the relationship between reported levels of happiness, positive status updates, and gender and age differences in the frequency of Facebook use.

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