There are currently more than 1.7 billion monthly active Facebook users worldwide, according to Zephoria. So how can all these social media users create a positive change or make someone’s day?

A new study from Carnegie Mellon University has just revealed that receiving personalized communication — like Facebook comments or posts — can boost your overall happiness. Researchers found that 60 comments from close friends in a month increased a user's psychological wellbeing.

"We're not talking about anything that's particularly labor-intensive," said Moira Burke, a research scientist at Facebook. "This can be a comment that's just a sentence or two. The important thing is that someone such as a close friend takes the time to personalize it. The content may be uplifting, and the mere act of communication reminds recipients of the meaningful relationships in their lives."

The study was based on 1,910 Facebook users from 91 countries who were recruited via the site’s ads. It found that interactions with friends resulted in improved wellbeing — including increased satisfaction with life, happiness, loneliness and depression.

The research method also allowed scientists to rule out that happier people simply use Facebook more. Researcher could also rule out the possibility that wellbeing predicts changes in how people use the medium.

"This suggests that people who are feeling down may indeed spend more time on social media, but they choose to do so because they've learned it makes them feel better," Burke said. "They're reminded of the people they care about in their lives."

Previous studies have shown the effects of Facebook and Instagram “likes” on the human brain, but these results typically showed how damaging social media can be when it comes to body image, romantic relationships, and overall happiness.

"It turns out that when you talk with a little more depth on Facebook to people you already like, you feel better," said Robert Kraut, a professor in CMU's Human-Computer Interaction Institute. "That also happens when people talk in person."

Source: Burke M, Kraut R. Friends Help Friends On Facebook Feel Better. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 2016.

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