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Science Says Snapchat Makes You Happy

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 30/10/2015 Damon Beres
ATHENA IMAGE © Alistair Berg via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

Snapchat may seem like the place for the silliest moments in your life -- but a recent study from the University of Michigan suggests that those might have a surprising impact on your mood.

The study, titled "Sharing the small moments: ephemeral social interaction on Snapchat," concluded that Snapchat interactions are correlated with increased "social enjoyment and positive mood" compared to those on platforms like Facebook. In other words, the quick-fire moments you experience on Snapchat -- which is used to share videos and photographs that disappear after a short amount of time -- might make you happier than other social media.

As the university's press release put it, "the only interaction more rewarding than Snapchat? It's still face-to-face communication." We can think of a few "interactions" that we'd probably rank above receiving a selfie on Snapchat, but hey.

The study, which observed 154 undergraduate students and apparently wasn't paid for by the popular social media app, found that Snapchat produced "more enjoyable" interactions than platforms featuring more permanent interactions. For example, when you post a photo to Facebook, it's more or less there forever; Snapchat's pics go away after they're viewed or after a short amount of time.

That said, the findings are actually a bit more complicated, lead study author Joseph Bayer explained to The Huffington Post.

"The bigger point of the Snapchat research was to clarify how even the 'small moments' of daily life can matter online, and that the way in which new technologies 'manipulate' time provides different forms of social experiences that we are just beginning to understand," Bayer said in an email.

So, the big takeaway might be that even the littlest moments of your life can become important online -- at least in the sense that sharing them on a platform like Snapchat could make you and your friends feel good. The study also found something you probably realize yourself if you're a Snapchat user: Interactions there tend to happen between people with "close ties." (No mysterious photo "likes" from your estranged step-aunt here.)

Of course, the study has limitations.

"The sample is not representative of the U.S. population," Bayer explained to HuffPost. "Although we used a random sample of Michigan students, they are probably less diverse, younger, wealthier, etc. than society at large. All our results speak to is undergraduates in the Midwest."

That said, there's no arguing the logic: Snapchat interactions are fleeting, funny and personal, which makes them a bit more exciting than your never-ending Facebook News Feed.

So, don't hesitate the next time you're wondering about snapping your friends something ridiculous -- it could actually make a difference.

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