Friday, August 16, 2013
A New Facebook Study suggests that Facebook Use and Sadness are Linked. The more you use Facebook, the more miserable you get.
Facebook Studies -- that's the various studies by researchers on the effect of Facebook on our mental well being are not new. The world's biggest social network, with active users equalling the population of countries like India or China, attracts researchers as much as as it attracts any new internet user.
One of the studies in the past revealed that for Facebook users "the grass is always greener on the other side". That's Facebook users keep silently visiting their real life classmates' and long forgotten friends' Facebook profiles to see what they are doing in life (What they have achieved in personal and professional life); and always return back with a feeling of sadness. As they find their classmates and friends in a better position than them. This resulted the researchers of the said study assume that Facebook makes people sad.
The study reveals that the increasing use of Facebook among young adults creates an increased lack of well-being.
The Facebook study titled: "Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults." goes a step further with linking Facebook and Happiness. The study suggests that the Facebook and happiness may be virtual opposites.
The Facebook Study Linking Facebook and Happiness:
Here's one of the revelations made by the study,
"The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time we text-messaged them; the more they used Facebook over two weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time."The study that was performed among 82 young adults, thus links Facebook and Happiness inversely. That the more one uses Facebook, the more unhappy he/she becomes.
Here's another insight into Facebook use from the Study,
"On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it."Another insight the Facebook Study shares is,
"Facebook is not a place where people, especially young adults come for dating. That's, teh study found no evidence that people turned to Facebook as a pick-me-up."
How closely the Study understands Facebook Use and its Effect on the Facebook user's mental Well being:
To a geek or a person who uses Facebook as part of his profession, the findings of the study may seem far from truth. As he/she spends his entire work time and beyond, with no signs of unhappiness. But there may be some truth in the finding that those who used Facebook for long periods are seeking some sort of relief from the misery in the real life in the first place. This misery may be anything from the lack of social skills to make friends in real life, talk to people in real life, confront people in real life etc.
In addition, although Facebook provides a sort of parallel world to many users, still it's not the real world. In such a scenario, how can one understand many Facebook users simply spending their entire day or substantial duration of it, socialising, liking and sharing on Facebook.
Regarding the portentous suggestion by the study that Facebook makes people unhappy, I've some reservations. I've observed that just like real world, on Facebook as well, Facebook users do get the opportunity to feel happy as well. For instance, they silently visit a profile of some long forgotten friend or class mate and found him.her in not that good position, in personal and professional life. Then the person may feel some consoling feeling.
But overall, if one tries to estimate the happiness and unhappiness, Facebook users derive out of Facebook use, then the balance will majorly tilt towards the gloomy feeling. The reasons are two:
1) Only those people who are professionally and personally content, share that information on their Facebook profiles, and;
2) People often look for those people on Facebook, who they once saw as their competitors and to whom they feel lagging behind now.
The above insight to Facebook use is not insincere. The behaviour wherein Facebook users silently check the profiles of their long disconnected friends; was also seen on orkut, a social network which offers a feature showing who visited an Orkut user's profile. And there, Orkut users sometimes do find long forgotten friend silently visiting, never trying to officially connect.
Regarding, the insight that Facebook is not a place where people find dates. I do agree. You may find Facebook users liking and commenting on Facebook friend's shares, but the comments are seldom like the ones which encourage dating. This is not a researched finding, but most comments are too small, one or two liners to encourage any close interactions.
To conclude, we could have made more concrete views about Facebook and Happiness, if the sample of the study would have been more.