Any social media addict can attest to the fact that there is a very specific joy that comes from picking up your phone and discovering new app notifications. But could the little yellow Snapchat ghost icon cause more happiness than the blue and white F for Facebook icon, or the mini camera Instagram icon, or even the teeny turquoise Twitter icon?
A recent study performed at the University of Michigan says yes. Researchers looked at how social media apps affect people’s emotions throughout the day, and found that participants reported highest happiness ratings when using Snapchat. The study’s lead author, Joseph Bayer, shared that, no, this happiness does not come from the ability to send and receive disappearing dirty pictures.
“On the surface, many people view Snapchat as the ‘sexting app, but instead, we found that Snapchat is typically being used to communicate spontaneously with close friends in a new and often more enjoyable way,” he said in a statement.
According to the study, a majority of people surveyed consider Snapchat to be similar to face-to-face conversations, making the app noticeably more chill than apps like Facebook, where people are more likely to share moments from the highlight reel of their lives than random glimpses into their normal days. “Since Facebook has become a space for sharing crafted big moments such as babies, graduations and birthdays, Snapchat seems to provide users with a distinct space for sharing the small moments,” said Bayer. It’s easy to get caught up in Facebook-induced FOMO, but Snaps of “mundane” things like sitting in the car (in Park, I hope) are more relatable, more likely to make you feel understood than make you feel alienated.
This probably rings a bell, right? I, for one, am much more likely to share a makeup free photo of myself captioned “SO BORED” on Snapchat, while my Facebook timeline remains much more curated. Snapchatting your buds about the little things, like what sandwich you had for lunch, kind of makes it feel like you get to share your day with them – hello, happiness. The study did not mention anything about the ecstasy of being able to send your BFF’s a video of yourself vomiting rainbows thanks to the new Snapchat lenses, but I think it’s safe to assume that feature affected the outcome of the project.
Snapchat supports over 100 active million users per day, which is only about 10% of how many folks are poking around Facebook on a daily basis, but the app has been steadily growing since its launch in 2011. If that means happiness is steadily growing, too, then Snap away, my pretties!