Social media, disclosure and well-being in COVID-19

My recommended reading for students looking to explore disclosure on social media and its relationship with well-being. Created this for a student today, but could be helpful for others.

Image from The Washington Post

I’d say read the first item under each heading, and go to the second one only if it further interests you. I think all of them are very relevant, especially for understanding social media’s growing importance during a COVID-19 lockdown.

First, it’s useful to understand the relationship between self-disclosure and well-being in terms of the motivations and mechanisms at play! You’ll notice how the second reading appears to adapt parts of the first in building its conceptual model.

Self-disclosure and well-being
1. Luo, M., & Hancock, J. T. (2020). Self-disclosure and social media: motivations, mechanisms and psychological well-being. Current Opinion in Psychology, 31, 110-115.

2. Lee, K. T., Noh, M. J., & Koo, D. M. (2013). Lonely people are no longer lonely on social networking sites: The mediating role of self-disclosure and social support. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(6), 413-418.

Language and self-disclosure

  1. Pennebaker, J. W., & Francis, M. E. (1996). Cognitive, emotional, and language processes in disclosure. Cognition & Emotion, 10(6), 601-626.
  2. Jaidka, K., Guntuku, S. C., Buffone, A., Schwartz, H. A., & Ungar, L. H. (2018). Facebook vs. Twitter: Cross-platform differences in self-disclosure and trait prediction. In Proceedings of the Twelfth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (pp. 141-150).

Social media and well-being

  1. Articles cited in: “Screens Might Be as Bad for Mental Health as … Potatoes”. Wired.
  2. Another general commentary: Twenge, J. M. (2018). Have smartphones destroyed a generation? The Atlantic. September 2017.
  3. A Twitter thread to contextualize the previous reading:
  4. Burke, M., & Kraut, R. E. (2016). The relationship between Facebook use and well-being depends on communication type and tie strength. Journal of computer-mediated communication, 21(4), 265-281.

Social media and COVID-19:

  1. Ashokkumar, A., & Pennebaker, J. (2020). Turning inward during crises: How COVID is changing our social ties.
  2. Saha, K., Torous, J., Caine, E. D., & De Choudhury, M. (2020). Social Media Reveals Psychosocial Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. medRxiv.

Experimental evidence on social media and well-being

  1. Hunt, M. G., Marx, R., Lipson, C., & Young, J. (2018). No more FOMO: Limiting social media decreases loneliness and depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 37(10), 751-768.
  2. Allcott, H., Braghieri, L., Eichmeyer, S., & Gentzkow, M. (2020). The welfare effects of social media. American Economic Review, 110(3), 629-76.

Finally, here’s a list of my own papers examining the relationship between writing (posts on social media) and well-being:

Journal articles

Jaidka, K., Giorgi, S., Schwartz, H. A., Kern, M. L., Ungar, L. H., & Eichstaedt, J. C. (2020). Estimating geographic subjective wellbeing from twitter: a comparison of dictionary and data-driven language methods. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jaidka, K., Guntuku, S. C., Lee, J. H., Luo, Z., Buffone, A., & Ungar, L. H. (2020). The rural–urban stress divide: Obtaining geographical insights through Twitter. Computers in Human Behavior.

Conference proceedings

Jaidka, K., Mumick, S., Chhaya, N., Killingsworth, M., Halevy, A., & Ungar L. (2020). Beyond Positive Emotion: Deconstructing Happy Moments based on Writing Prompts. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 2020). AAAI.

Guntuku, S., Buffone, A., Jaidka, K., Eichstaedt, J., Ungar L. (2019). Understanding and Measuring Psychological Stress using Social Media. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 2019). AAAI.

Presentations and papers under preparation

Jaidka, K. (2019, July). Does social media use improve community health and well-being? Evidence for U.S. counties. Poster presented at the International Conference of Computational Social Science (IC2S2). Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Jaidka, K. (2020, June). Social media in COVID-19: building resilience or sowing stress? Research presentation at the CNM CTIC joint webinar. Singapore. (slides at

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