… or was it social life? Ah well, improve one, improve the other, right?
Blogging can help you feel less isolated, more connected to a community and more satisfied with your friendships, both online and face-to-face, new Australian research has found.
The research, from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, found after two months of regular blogging, people felt they had better social support and friendship networks than those who did not blog.
Researchers James Baker and Professor Susan Moore have written two papers investigating the psychological benefits of blogging, regularly updating personal web pages with information that invites others to comment.
The first, published in the latest issue of the journal CyberPsychology and Behaviour, compares the mental health of people intending to blog with that of people not planning to blog.
Moore says the researchers messaged 600 MySpace users personally and directed them to an online survey. A total of 134 completed the questionnaire – 84 intended to blog and 50 did not.
“We found potential bloggers were less satisfied with their friendships and they felt less socially integrated, they didn’t feel as much part of a community as the people who weren’t interested in blogging,” Ms Moore said.
“They were also more likely to use venting or expressing your emotions as a way of coping.
“It was as if they were saying ‘I’m going to do this blogging and it’s going to help me’.”
And it seemed to do the trick, as the researchers’ second study shows.
This study, which is yet to be published, was conducted two months later.
The researchers sent out questionnaires to the same group of MySpace users – this time 59 responded.
Bloggers reported a greater sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people and feeling more confident they could rely on others for help.
All respondents, whether or not they blogged, reported feeling less anxious, depressed and stressed after two months of online social networking.
“So going onto MySpace had lifted the mood of all participants in some way,” Ms Moore said.
“Maybe they’d just made more social connections.”
Bless the ABC. Old Auntie knows what’s good for us. As does my little Sis. (hat tip)