According to US research Facebook users who upload the most photographs are less likely to die prematurely. The researchers analysed 12 million users in California and linked them to the state’s public health records.
The top 10% of people posting the most photographs were 30% less likely to die earlier than the average user.
It had nothing to do with the number of “likes“. And it wasn’t how many people you invited to be your friend but how many invited you that was important.
Even the average Facebook user is less likely to die prematurely than a n0n-user! However that analysis didn’t allow for differences in socio-economic status e.g. homeless people are unlikely to be on Facebook.
Does it also suggest that being “popular” makes you live longer? Maybe. According to the researchers Hobbs and Fowler, it’s hard to say which way that goes. It could be that individuals who are more likely to live longer are more attractive to others in the first place. They say that needs more research.
The researchers felt that taking photographs indicated a strong network of family and friends which research has shown benefits health (social relationships seem to be as predictive of lifespan as smoking, and more predictive than obesity and physical inactivity).
The researchers concede that “It is only on the extreme end, spending a lot of time online with little evidence of being connected to people otherwise, that we see a negative association”.
But that assumes that people taking photographs are also interacting face-to-face. How many of the photographs were “selfies”? Do narcissistic people live longer – or would they hate to see themselves ageing online?
Sitting at a computer or desk for hours is associated with increased risks of heart disease and diabetes.
Staring at screens throughout the day and night disrupts your sleep patterns and your cognitive ability.
And let’s not forget Facebook friends aren’t real, are they?