SAN FRANCISCO -- If he were on Facebook, Stuart Smalley would probably update his status: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"
Turns out that Smalley, played by Al Franken in the "Saturday Night Live" skit, knew a thing or two about human nature. One of the main reasons people turn to Facebook? Daily affirmations of their self-worth.
That's according to a new study from University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Catalina Toma and Cornell University professor Jeffrey Hancock.
The pair are taking the lead in applying "self-affirmation theory" to social networks. They say Facebook is not just about checking out photos and updates from friends. It's about checking up on how others view you.
Facebook is a pick-me-up that helps people feel better about themselves, especially when they feel down or have been dealt a blow to the ego, according to the study, which is slated for the March issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
Toma and Hancock theorize that self-affirmation is an important underlying psychological factor propelling the growth of Facebook, the world’s largest social network with more than 1 billion users.
Somewhere Smalley is smiling.