Thursday, March 6, 2008

And it's good for you!

An article I thought my bloggie peeps may find intriguing...



Blogging's Good For Your Health
Claudine Ryan, ABC Science Online

March 3, 2008 -- Blogging can help you feel less isolated, more connected to a community and more satisfied with your friendships, both online and face-to-face, new research has found.
The research, from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, found after two months of regular blogging, people felt they had better social support and friendship networks than those who didn't blog.
Researchers James Baker and Susan Moore have written two papers investigating the psychological benefits of blogging and regularly updating personal Web pages with information that invites others to comment.
The first, published in the latest issue of the journal CyberPsychology and Behavior, compares the mental health of people intending to blog with that of people not planning to blog.
Moore says the researchers messaged 600 MySpace users personally and directed them to an online survey. A total of 134 completed the questionnaire; 84 intended to blog and 50 didn't.
"We found potential bloggers were less satisfied with their friendships and they felt less socially integrated, they didn't feel as much part of a community as the people who weren't interested in blogging ... they were also more likely to use venting or expressing your emotions as a way of coping," Moore said.
"It was as if they were saying 'I'm going to do this blogging and it's going to help me'."
And it seemed to do the trick, as the researchers' second study shows.
This study, which is yet to be published, was conducted two months later. The researchers sent out questionnaires to the same group of MySpace users; this time 59 responded. Bloggers reported a greater sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people and feeling more confident they could rely on others for help.
All respondents, whether or not they blogged, reported feeling less anxious, depressed and stressed after two months of online social networking.
"So going onto MySpace had lifted the mood of all participants in some way," Moore says. "Maybe they'd just made more social connections."
Moore acknowledges this is early research and hopes to follow a larger group of people for a longer period time to test some of the research findings.

***

Okay, so maybe not the best designed of studies (pssssh, myspace blogs? So 2005!). However, I do find it interesting when a subculture, such as this one, becomes a formally recognized as worthy of research. I also am fascinated by the effects of technology on our culture and psychology-- for instance, I previously pondered the connotations of Facebook taking away the experience of losing touch with people, an experience I would argue is a reasonably vital part of the transition to adulthood.

These findings actually mesh really well with research showing significant psychological and health benefits of writing about one's  secrets, even if no one will ever read them (by Jamie Pennebaker, if anyone's interested). It seems to be an interesting combination of catharsis and gaining insight-- which seems fitting for this particular endeavour we are all engaged in, doesn't it?

And, yes, apparently my geekyness has officially seeped beyond all walls supposed to contain it. That's what overwork will do to you, I guess. I've forgotten how to even pretend to be cool.

Thankfully, I'm in a slight pause at the moment, sort of a brief stop on a boulder in the midst of a rushing river. I will try to come visit your sides of the world soon, I promise, before the currents rush to sweep me off again!

31 comments:

Ant said...

"Subculture"? You make it sound like a seedy underworld... :-)

Research findings presented don't surprise me in the slightest, I'd say 9 out of 10 blogs that I read use it as a cathartic method of venting, and benefit psychologically. (Some even claim that their therapists recommends it...)

But this also frustrates me in equal measure - I desperately cling to the notion that blogging is journalism without sponsorship, and as such a code of professionalism should be maintained. Alas, that's something that tends to fly out the window when people have got stuff they "need to get off their chest".

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

"...Facebook taking away the experience of losing touch with people, an experience I would argue is a reasonably vital part of the transition to adulthood." Wow. Very insightful. (I will read more another time.)

Love your metaphor at the end; it's perfectly sweet.

Have a terrific day!

Mrs4444 said...

P.S. Thanks for the note; you're the best!

Clueless Cat said...

Definitely an interesting article, thanks for sharing! Blogging's a great form of release, and the community formed through blogging is definitely a major plus!

Deutlich said...

Hey! I still think you're fabulously cool and that's that.

And that article? Freakin' awesome. I can definitely see the truth in it.

Maxie said...

I think after the 2 month mark, blogging was making me feel better about my life... but now it's just so overwhelming.

Yoda said...

I read the same article and was to going to do a post on it!!

Get out of my head!!!!!

lspoon said...

Well I definitely feel like I have community. It's really nice to have a whole other set of friends :)

PrincessB said...

Intersting article. You're right...not the best designed study, but fascinating all the same!

I'm not sure I agree that it is a form of journalism. For many it's an online diary. That's the way I view it. But everyone's different!

Keep up the work! The quarter will be over soon! (I assume you're on quarters?)

Tin Ma'am said...

I KNEW this was good for my mental health... lol. Oh yeah, and myspace? Lame. No one on there seems to be able to spell anymore.

WiscoBlonde said...

I knew I did this for my health! Can I get an insurance voucher for this?

Ashley said...

yeah i can see that....blogging is like free therapy. and online platonic dating. its a twofer, really.

Princess of the Universe said...

The former Psych student in me is apalled at this study. They needed a larger group etc etc etc. ;P
Interesting though...

All Mod Cons said...

Personally, I really do agree with your point on Facebook. There are some people I'd REALLY love to lose touch with!

lfar said...

Yeah terrible stats, BUT super good article, thanks for linking us. I don't know what I'd do without blogging. There could be sooo many sociology studies on blogging communities, hey?

the frog princess said...

Woohoo! I'm part of a sub-culture! :)

Interesting concept though... So if I hadn't started blogging just before starting grad school, would I be a complete and total mess right now?

Hmmm....

Surfergrrl said...

I would say it's helped me a great deal in the last couple of months. I really feel I have the support I may have not gotten in "real life" had I not blogged. And even if no one reads it, it still feels good to get it out there.

Jess said...

This is a really interesting piece. I look forward to when some researcher drops in on our little corner of blogland some day.

distractedspunk said...

I would agree. I think I'd be in a different place out here and alone without this blogging community. And you! Oh you're a geek, but I love it. (Cause I am one too.) We can be hot geeks together.

Jocelyn said...

I love it when research supports what I want to believe!

Michelle & the City said...

does blogging burn calories too? ;)

Larissa said...

I've experienced surprisingly wonderful community and friendships through blogging!

captain corky said...

I new blogging was fucking cool. I'm not a geek, I'm not!!!

A Lil' Irish Lass said...

I saw this the other day and was going to post about it. I completely agree with their findings.

I also thought your commentary on Facebook was very interesting.

nancypearlwannabe said...

I've seen this article in a couple of places and I really enjoyed it. I always felt like blogging was a sort of therapy, with all my commenters playing therapist. :)

Beth said...

Interesting article - and, yes, even more fascinating that studies are being done re: "this world."

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

NERD!!!!!

Nice article.

SMARTBuddy said...

Cheers for the article- interesting stuff. Blogging to health seems to make some sort of sense, but its the online social networking (Stalkbook) etc rather than blogging specifically, no?..

chasinglibby said...

well, check us out!!! though i can hardly say i'm surprised at this 'finding'! lol

Miriam D said...

Haha I knew blogging was good for the soul.

eric1313 said...

Vindication, baby! Capital V. Oh yeah!

Still reading... Your words were missed mightily. And I'm glad that my words are still a pre bedtime ritual. I'll try to get something out there again soon.

And what would posses you to think it's geeky to miss someone? Just saying that made me at once smile, blush and kick myself for not letting you and the rest know I was OK and that I would be back.

Time to crash out, though. Sweet dreams to you, and yes, I'll try to get a post up before I do so myself. I have a few poems in my drafts that I save for future use. There may be one or two that will work...