The more women post on Facebook, the lonelier they are, study says

A study finds that women who put more of their favorite books and movies -- and their relationship status -- out for public viewing on Facebook are also more lonely.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Facebook is for the lonely? Tien Nguyen/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's curious how people define themselves by the fact that they love Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." Or the Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart."

Is it because they want others to understand just how tasteful they are? Or is it because they're desperate to find other people who like the same songs?

A study from Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia, paints an extremely sad picture of women who reveal themselves on Facebook.

Titled "Self-disclosure on Facebook among female users and its relationship to feelings of loneliness," the study offers highlights that are painful for the human social condition.

In examining the Facebook postings of 616 women, the researchers concluded that the more information about themselves they put out there, the lonelier they actually were.

In a twist that might make many Hollywood writers pen "Bridget Jones's Facebook Nightmare," the lonelier women disclosed more about their relationship status, as well as their address and their literary and musical tastes.

And "disclosed" means not just to friends, but to the whole world.

Somewhere out there, there has to be someone who likes me. Or, at least, someone who's like me.

The contrast with those that the study called "connected" -- that is, "not lonely" -- women is also painful. These women were more likely to disclose their Wall, because, presumably, it was a hive of social activity, buzzing with constant inane comments from friends and strangers.

You might wonder how the researchers discerned whether these 616 women were lonely or connected. Well, they observed how they described themselves on their Facebook Wall.

This isn't the first study that has found a link between Facebook and being utterly miserable.

Last year, researchers at the University of Michigan found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the more unhappy they became.

These researchers, in their conclusions, dared to declare that Facebook actually "undermines" people's well-being.

It might be because it displays the fun everyone else is having -- the very fun you aren't. It might be because, at heart, you know that your supposed Facebook friends are more supposed than friends.

But there's something about the need to expose yourself as fully as possible to the world that suggests a hole inside yourself.

Sadly, Facebook can only fill that hole in a virtual sense, not a real one.