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Facebook Therapy? Why Do People Share Self-Relevant Content Online?

10 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2012  

Jonah A. Berger

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Eva Buechel

University of Miami - Department of Marketing

Date Written: February 29, 2012

Abstract

Why do people use online social networking sites (e.g., Facebook) and what are the implications of this behavior for well-being? While emotionally unstable individuals experience emotions more intensely, they are less adept at regulation. Consequently, we suggest they may rely on others more to help them deal with their emotions. Further, given they tend to be socially apprehensive they may be particularly likely to rely on online expression because it is less threatening. Consistent with this perspective, we find that emotional unstable individuals are more likely to post self-relevant information online and write about their emotions when doing so – a tendency not observed offline. Further, such emotional writing, paired with the potential to receive social support helps them repair well-being after negative experiences. These results shed light on a motivator for, and benefit of, online social networking, while also demonstrating how the social sharing of emotion can boost well-being.

Keywords: Facebook, wellbeing, emotion

Suggested Citation

Berger, Jonah A. and Buechel, Eva, Facebook Therapy? Why Do People Share Self-Relevant Content Online? (February 29, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2013148 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2013148

Jonah A. Berger (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

Eva Buechel

University of Miami - Department of Marketing ( email )

United States

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