Want a Longer Life? Perhaps You Should Join Facebook

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Can Facebook help you live a longer, richer life? University of California San Diego researchers say the answer might be "yes."

Can Facebook help you live a longer, richer life? University of California San Diego researchers say the answer might be “yes.”

A study of 12 million Facebook users found that people who use the social media network tend to live longer.

In the study, UC San Diego researchers matched Facebook users with records from the California Department of Public Health. The researchers then monitored counts of the online activity of the Facebook users for six months.

They found that in any given year, a Facebook user was 12 percent less likely to die than someone who didn’t use the site. In addition, people with average or large social networks lived longer than those with smaller networks.

Users who posted more photos tended to live the longest. Researchers concluded that posting photos indicated a likelihood that such people were involved in more face-to-face social activity in the offline world.

However, before you fire up your computer to join Facebook, note that researchers caution they only found an association between using Facebook and living longer. They did not find direct evidence that using Facebook causes people to live longer.

UC San Diego notes that the study findings support earlier research that people with stronger social networks tend to live longer. The new study suggests that such social networks also can pay dividends in the digital world. Researcher William Hobbs says:

Interacting online seems to be healthy when the online activity is moderate and complements interactions offline. It is only on the extreme end, spending a lot of time online with little evidence of being connected to people otherwise, that we see a negative association.

To keep your online interactions healthy and happy, check out “4 Tips for Turning Down the Heat on Social Media.”

Technology can help boost your professional life as well as your personal life. For more, read “6 Steps to Using the Internet to Quit the Daily Grind.”

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