Does Facebook make people feel good?

Facebook and other social networking sites make people feel good about themselves, new research has suggested, but a British psychologist is sceptical.

Published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, the study discovered the part of these pages that individuals enjoy the most is that which centres on them. Investigators from the University of Georgia (UGA) and San Diego State University noted a lot of the activity that takes place on portals of this nature is self-focussed, despite the title - social networking - suggesting a more communal emphasis.

Keith Campbell, Head of the Department of Psychology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, noted: "Editing yourself and constructing yourself on these social networking sites, even for a short period of time, seems to have an effect on how you see yourself."

According to a test conducted as part of the investigation, participants who updated their MySpace page later scored higher on a narcissism measure, while those who altered their Facebook profile registered more marks regarding self-esteem.

However, Chartered Psychologist Dr Nick Baylis says:

"This sort of questionnnaire-based research is as unconcinving as the so-called 'friends' on the networking sites.

"Face-to-face, long discussions and partiicpant observation are far better ways to make good-quality friendships and to acquire good-quality research data. 

"The sooner psychologisst own up to that, the greater the contribution to well-being we'll be able to make. The sooner the public owns up to the shortcomings of social networking and other screen based  and digital relationships, the better for our society."