STUDY: Looking At Old Facebook Posts Makes You Feel Happier

By Justin Lafferty 

Taking a trip down memory lane on Facebook may actually have some positive benefits. When users look back at great times with friends and party photos from college, they may notice themselves smiling a little more. That’s not by accident, according to a study by University of Portsmouth researchers, who discovered that looking back at old Facebook photos promotes positive reminiscing and a self-soothing feeling.

Researchers polled 134 Facebook users (86 percent of whom used the site daily), finding that 86 percent admitted to looking back at posts on their own Timelines and 75 percent looked through photos posted to their profiles.

According to the Facebook users polled, 76 percent said looking back on old posts improved their moods, while 73 percent noted that photos that friends posted on their Timelines made them feel happier.

The study also asked users what they wished they could do on Facebook, with 88 percent saying that they wished they had a way to easily access their favorite photos that they’ve posted (86 percent would like to be able to do the same, but for photos that friends have posted). 86 percent of the participants said they’d like to be able to find their favorite Timeline posts from the past.

The researchers summarized the study, which showed that (for this limited group anyway) looking back has its benefits:

In considering the original research questions, the results of the study do indicate that activities involving reminiscing have a positive impact upon well-being. Moreover, looking back on photos and wall posts was seen to provide a greater self-soothing effect, when participants were feeling low in mood, than other Facebook activities. This is further supported in that a significant number of participants were not able to easily access “favorite‟ wall posts and photos, and yet would like to be able  to do so. In addition, the activity of looking back on photos and wall posts was carried out more frequently by participants than other activities, such as playing games, updating status, and using Messenger. This suggests that the activity of looking back upon photos and wall posts is a popular activity, as well as having a positive impact upon emotional well-being.

Readers: How often do you look at your old photos and posts?

Photo courtesy of Elena Elisseeva /