UC-Riverside researchers to study link between social media and mood

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A close-up view of the homepage of the microblogging website Twitter.

Two UC-Riverside marketing professors have won a $414,000 federal grant to study why people use social media and how it affects their emotional well being.

The research is headed up by professors Donna Hoffman and Tom Novak of the The Sloan Center for Internet Retailing at UC-Riverside.

Hoffman and Novak plan to survey thousands of social media users with the help of an “e-Lab,” a global online community that the researchers will survey about Twitter, MySpace and social media usage.

The researchers want to find out whether social media sites help people achieve certain personal goals via online schmoozing. In other words, does it make them happy?

They also want to know whether happy people use social media any differently than their unhappy counterparts. A question like "Do unhappy people spend more time on Twitter or Facebook?" is likely to be among the those researched.

Researchers are also interested in the possible long-term effects that social media use might have on mental health or actual physical relationships — think face-to-face, rather than facebook-to-facebook.

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