According to a study from the University of Portsmouth, using Facebook as a gateway for a trip down memory lane may be the most positive thing you can do with the service.
For starters, the study's makeup looks like this: 54% male, 80% of which own a smartphone and 94% who always carry that phone on them. 86% of the participants said they check Facebook more than once a day.
Researchers found that the Facebook activity that generated improved mood in the most people was looking back on old wall posts, followed closely by looking back at photos posted users' walls (76% and 73%, respectively). 71% had improved mood from looking back at old photos they posted.
Compare this with the only 32% who said they had improved mood from playing games and the 58% who did from simply updating their status.
"[T]he results of the study do indicate that activities involving reminiscing have a positive impact upon wellbeing. 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 wellbeing," said the researchers.
The study also looked at what users want from Facebook in terms of mechanisms for accessing their old photos and posts. 88% said that they would like to be able to access old photos, but 84% said it is not easy to do so. Graph Search should help with that, once Facebook completes its slow rollout.[Looking back at Facebook content and the positive impact upon wellbeing via AllFacebook]