Depends on what you bring to it.
A study conducted at Carnegie Mellon followed 1,200 Facebook users and came to these conclusions. People who received composed communication became less lonely, while people who received one-click communication, i.e., using the “like” button, experienced no change in loneliness. Non-personalized use of Facebook— like scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, also known as “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness. Wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear is not emotionally satisfying.
So the next time your friend posts an Instagram photo of what they’re eating, tell them how delicious it looks. Whenever you realize that its one of your FB friends’ birthday, send them a nice personal message. When someone posts pictures from their vacation, tell them how nice it looks. That’s what we all want to hear. It’s a sad, lonely world out there; is it not worth 5 seconds of your life to make someone else feel good?
In a another study, researchers looked at the connection between the loneliness of subjects and the relative frequency of their interactions via Facebook, chat rooms, online games, dating sites, and face-to-face contact. The results were very clear. The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are. The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.
But that doesn’t mean using Facebook will inevitably make you feel lonelier. Remember that Facebook is merely a tool, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on how you utilize it. So if you use Facebook to increase face-to-face contact, that’s great! If you’re using social media, for example, to organize a basketball game among your friends, that’s healthy. If you’re turn to social media instead of playing basketball, then we have a problem.