According to a new study people who use Facebook appear to live longer! What? But if it serves to maintain and enhance their real-world social ties. This confirms what social scientists say they have known for a long time: People who have stronger social networks live longer.

The study: Led by William Hobbs and James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, the team matched 4 million California Facebook users with vital records from the California Department of Public Health. The study found that those who were on Facebook lived longer than those who were not. Weird huh?

This is what they found:

  • In a given year, the average Facebook user is about 12 percent less likely to die than someone who doesn't use the site. However, this may be due to social or economic differences between those who use Facebook and those who don't.
  • People with average or large social networks, in the top 50 to 30 percent, lived longer than those in the lowest 10 -- a finding consistent with classic studies of offline relationships and longevity.
  • Those on Facebook with the highest levels of offline social integration -- as measured by posting more photos, which suggests face-to-face social activity -- had the greatest longevity.
  • Online-only social interactions, like writing wall posts and messages, showed a nonlinear relationship: Moderate levels were associated with the lowest mortality.

If it serves you best, I say Facebook on!

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