Multi-Platform Social Media Use: Little Evidence of Impacts on Adult Well-Being
Sophie Lohmann1, Emilio Zagheni1
1Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Social media have become a near-ubiquitous part of our lives. The growing concern that their use may harm our well-being has been met with contradictory evidence and a plethora of divergent operationalizations, which often simplify social media use as a homogeneous process. In reality, social media use and functions vary widely depending on platform and on the number of platforms used. Using General Social Survey data, we characterize intensive social media users and examine how differential platform use impacts various operationalizations of well-being. Overall, the intensity of social media use seemed largely unrelated to well-being both in unadjusted models and in propensity-score models that adjusted for selection bias and demographic factors. Among older adults, however, intensive social media use was linked to higher depressive symptoms. Our findings indicate that although communication media have changed with the advent of social media, these new media are not necessarily detrimental to well-being.