"It begins to take over from real life": The social outcomes of Facebook use

Tracii Ann Ryan

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Introduction: The question of whether social networking site use causes positive or negative social outcomes is becoming increasingly salient. Emerging research suggests that either outcome is possible; some individuals enhance their offline social networks, while others end up ostracised and alone. Most of this research has taken a deductive approach and focused on narrow aspects of social connectedness. As such, scholars lack knowledge regarding the breadth of social outcomes experienced by users. This first stage study aims to address this limitation by identifying the potential scope of social outcomes related to Facebook use.

Method: Data were collected using an online survey. Participants were 417 Facebook users (69% women) aged 18 to 80 (M = 31.57, SD = 9.33). Thematic analysis of open-ended responses relating to social outcomes was performed using an inductive approach. Demographic data were also used look for patterns within the themes.

Results: The results revealed a dominant positive outcome, social facilitation, particularly among shy Facebook users. Secondary positive themes were also evident, including enhanced social control and loneliness reduction. The foremost negative outcome associated with Facebook use was interpersonal conflict, while there was also evidence of reduced offline social behaviour due to Facebook use.

Conclusion: This study confirms a diverse set of positive and negative social outcomes associated with Facebook use. These results inform a second stage study that seeks to develop a taxonomy of social outcomes and secondary effects related to social media use. Such research will improve the accuracy of future studies in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event22nd Annual CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy & Social Networking Conference - University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Jun 201728 Jun 2017


Conference22nd Annual CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy & Social Networking Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom

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