Loneliness and Social Media: A Qualitative Investigation of Young People’s Motivations for Use, and Perceptions of Social Networking Sites
Ubiquitous and easy to use, social media platforms have changed the way we communicate, make new friends or maintain old friendships. Unexpectedly, in the age of enhanced social interconnectivity, people feel lonelier than ever (Turkle 2011), especially young adults (16–24 years old) who are avid social media users are frequently reported to be significantly lonelier than any other age group (Office for National Statistics 2018). This chapter advances our understanding of the relationship between loneliness and social networking websites (SNSs) use and aims to put an end to the debate regarding whether or not SNS use is making young adults lonelier. This is the first research in the UK that analyses and compares the way different SNSs (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) can increase or decrease loneliness in young adults.
This research was supported by the ERAS Scheme at the University of Wolverhampton. I am very grateful to the anonymous reviewers and to Dr. Fran Pheasant Kelly for their invaluable comments on earlier versions of this chapter. Thanks also go to Ameena Khan for assistance with data collection and proofreading. Finally, my sincere thanks go to Lucy Batrouney and Mala Sanghera-Warren and the team at Palgrave Macmillan.
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