Studies show that Facebook is making users unhappy, so you should get a life!

September 23th 2013, 19:18 by Christian
Posted in: Funny Stuff

The study was recently published by the Public Library of Science, conducted by Ethan Kross (University of Michigan) and Philippe Verduyn (Leuven University, Belgium), and it comes to show that the more time you spend on Facebook, the less satisfied you are with your life.

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This is great news for those (few) people who resisted the temptation to join Facebook, since now they’ll finally have a scientific approach to the issue. However, for the rest of us mortal souls, this is pretty bad.

Sure, we heard over time different people saying that Facebook is associated with isolation, depression, and social tension, but we never really stopped and think that it might happen to us, so it was very easy to dismiss them.

It’s a different case with this study however, since it’s done in a rather scientific manner – 82 Facebook users (in their late teens or early 20s) were recruited and had their emotions tracked 24/7 for an extended period of time. They had to report five times a day regarding their state of mind, as well as direct social contacts (meaning phones calls and/or meetings in person).

When the results were analysed, the researchers found that the more a volunteer used Facebook in the period between two questionnaires, his emotional well-being took a turn for the worst. Meaning, he was more miserable with his life.

Also, volunteers were asked to rate their general satisfaction with life at the beginning and the end of the study. Just as expected, those who used Facebook frequently were more prone to a decline in overall life satisfaction, as opposed to those who visited the site occasionally.

In addition, it was shown that the more volunteers socialized in the real world, the happier they were the next time they filled in the questionnaire. It’s important to state that the group of volunteers was intentionally diversified in terms of sex, size of social network, motivation for using Facebook, as well as feelings regarding his/her level of loneliness.

What interested us the most was to find out the reason why socializing on Facebook has a different effect from socializing in person, so we went online and searched for similar studies.

It wasn’t long until we stumbled upon an earlier investigation, conducted by reputable social scientists at Humboldt University and Darmstadt’s Technical University in Germany, which claim to have found the root cause.

For this particular study, 584 users of Facebook, aged mostly in their 20s, were submitted to an extensive survey, which found out that the most common emotion aroused by using Facebook is ENVY.

It’s easy to feel a little green-eyed when you compare yourself with friends who handpicked (or photo-shopped) their photographs, amplified their achievements, and pretty much created a whole new (cool) identity that they probably don’t have in reality. That’s why real-life encounters are to be preferred, because it’s much harder to fake all these things when you’re face2face with someone.

Neither of these studies give any insight on older users of Facebook, which may be wiser due to their age, thus feeling less begrudging of their friends’ well being.

 



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