That’s the gist of the research Brandon Reich and I did.
In terms of loneliness, Instagram and Snapchat (image-based platforms) offer more social presence than Twitter and Yik Yak (text-based platforms). So Instagram and Snapchat decrease loneliness and increase happiness and satisfaction with life.
For those of us that are visually-inclined, here are some data (full article is here, or email me):
Below are density visualizations of responses participants gave when asked why they used image platforms versus text platforms. What differences can you spot between the two?