Forget Facebook – Snapchat users happier

Four, three, two, one and it’s gone. Are you happier now?

A University of Michigan study says Snapchat, a video messaging application that allows pictures and videos to be shared for up to ten seconds, makes users happier than other social media.

Twenty-year-old Melissa Amelia says Snapchat is the social app she uses the most and it does make her happier.

“I find it’s a convenient way to keep in touch with people. I’m not really a huge texter so it’s just kind of easier to just snap your face or whatever is going on.”

The study looked at 154 college students who use smart- phones, and found interactions on Snapchat are associated with more positive emotions than

other social technologies, such as Facebook.

“Snapchat is typically being used to communicate spontaneously with close friends in a new and often more enjoyable way,” Joseph Bayer, the study’s lead author, said in a press release. Haley Cooke, also 20, says she thinks the app better connects people than Facebook because “it’s fun being able to see people’s faces.”

The study found users believed Snapchat interactions are similar to face-to-face conversations because they are mundane, not recorded and often shared between friends.

It also found that users may not be as worried how they look in shared content.

“I’m all about ugly faces with Snapchat,” Amelia says.

Cindy Hamon-Hill, a psychology professor at Dalhousie University, says this could explain why Snapchat makes users happier.

Since the content isn’t scrutinized, she says, it’s more spontaneous and real.

“So maybe in the spontaneity there is an element of authenticity.”

She says Snapchat may also trigger what’s known as emotional contagion – a neurological mirroring of another person’s emotions.

“We observe it and just through mere observation we experience it to some degree.”

But not everyone is sold on Snapchat.

“I feel that it’s a bit of a waste of time, if I want to talk to someone I’ll call them or do FaceTime or Skype,” says 31-year-old An- drew Park.

While many spend time swiping on Tinder, sending photos on Snapchat or writing Facebook messages, Hamon-Hill says social media just can’t replace the real thing.

“The thing is it’s no longer face-to-face communication . . . I know you can put in emoticons but they do not equal the emotion in vocal exchange or facial expression or body gesture.”

 

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