Social Media and Well-Being: Pitfalls, Progress, and Next Steps

Trends Cogn Sci. 2021 Jan;25(1):55-66. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2020.10.005. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


Within a relatively short time span, social media have transformed the way humans interact, leading many to wonder what, if any, implications this interactive revolution has had for people's emotional lives. Over the past 15 years, an explosion of research has examined this issue, generating countless studies and heated debate. Although early research generated inconclusive findings, several experiments have revealed small negative effects of social media use on well-being. These results mask, however, a deeper set of complexities. Accumulating evidence indicates that social media can enhance or diminish well-being depending on how people use them. Future research is needed to model these complexities using stronger methods to advance knowledge in this domain.

Keywords: Facebook; emotion; life satisfaction; online social networks; social media; well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Social Media*