A paper published in the scientific journal PNAS says that an active social life online mirrors the beneficial affects of an active social life offline. The premise being that having a strong social network anywhere can prevent an early death.
The study was based on 12 million social media profiles made available to the researchers by Facebook, as well as records from the California Department of Health. It found that “moderate use” of Facebook was associated with the lowest mortality rate, above not using it at all. It also interestingly found that receiving friend requests correlated with reduced mortality, but that sending friend requests did not.
Skeptics could suggest that Facebook’s involvement in the study might result in bias, but chief researcher William Hobbs, insists they did not interfere with the report’s findings, despite the company being, “pretty confident that we were going to find this result.”
“The research confirms what scientists have known for a long time about the offline world: People who have stronger social networks live longer,” said Hobbs.