Facebook as a fountain of youth? Well, not exactly. But new research co-led by Northeastern’s William R. Hobbs suggests that use of the social media platform is associated with longer life, particularly if the time spent online is moderate and the user’s online activities reflect strong social interactions in the offline world.
The findings support decades of research showing that social relationships in real life contribute to longevity and that social isolation does the opposite. They are the first, however, to reveal that the association holds in the online world.
Hobbs, a postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science David Lazer, is quick to point out that the study shows associations only and not cause and effect. Still, he suggests a possible explanation for the results.