New Facebook Study: A Wakeup Call to ‘Get Real’

In a recent study, Facebook is dubbed as something that makes people sad and unsatisfied with their life.

“Everyday Facebook use leads to declines in subjective well-being, both how happy you feel, moment to moment, and how satisfied you feel with your life,” says Ethan Kros, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.

Although Facebook can make many feel as if they have an abundance of friends, how many people who use Facebook actually feel the same level of stimulation from the ‘real world’?

Researchers have recently studied how the use of Facebook affects users. This new study was performed by researchers at the University of Michigan and has just been published in the Public Library of Science. The general findings point towards a link between unhappiness and Facebook. According to this new study your usage of Facebook is directly proportionate to your levels of unhappiness.

The research team, which included Kross, examined and analyzed the Facebook users. The moods and habits of 82 young adults, all active Facebook users with mobile phones, were examined over the course of two weeks. The average age of users was 20 years old. Each partaker was sent a text five times during the day. The texts were sent with arbitrary intermissions in-between, asking about the participants feelings, worries, loneliness, Facebook and physical life interaction with other humans. It was noted that people generally felt a decline in happiness or joy immediately following the usage of Facebook. As the two weeks wore on, they found the participants grew less content with their lives.

Could this be because the level of control a technological social paradigm gives us highlights our vulnerability and lack of control we feel in the ‘real-life’?

“It’s not the case that people use Facebook more when they feel bad,” Kross says. “It is something unique about Facebook use that is making people feel worse.”

In what he and the researchers detail as the ‘Facebook effect’, they explain that it is not connected to the fundamental moods of loneliness or discontent. These moods have been with us since the conception of human consciousness. The Facebook effect is something unique to Facebook, whereby users see how brilliant life could or should be due to the incessant and often false sharing of positivity.

“When you’re browsing Facebook, you see people depict glowingly positive stuff. There is a social comparison process at play,” Kross said.

What is happening is a social comparison game, whereby people can delve into oceans of information within their mind, and travel far and wide without having to move a muscle, apart from their fingers. The findings of this study are not localized to just this one, as a countless number of researchers, scholars and critics have attempted to decipher the enigma of the worldwide, public social media platform.

A little tip for Facebook users…

You don’t have to completely shut off the social media usage in your life, just keep it real and valuable. Choose what you are plugging into your life and allow yourself to be inspired by what you see and read, allow the inspiration to follow action and the follow through and post your wonderful creation, if you must. But mean what you post, and post what you mean.

Jessica Rosslee

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