Ng: Facebook misery

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Thursday, January 2, 2014


I CAME across an interesting study reported by the Economist magazine that seems to infer that the more time you spend on Facebook, the more miserable you become. This was in reference to a study presented by Ethan Kross in the University of Michigan and also Philippe Verfuyn of Leuven University.

The study noted that using Facebook is associated with jealousy, social tension, isolation and depression. The study noted thought that it was not able to establish whether it is a causation or a correlation – meaning were those who were already isolated or bored prone to use Facebook more or whether it was actually the act of using Facebook that caused their misery. The study did note that the people who visited the site more frequently tend to be more dissatisfied with themselves, which is inversely correlated to the people who socialized in the real world who tend to become more positive.

Another study confirmed these findings which showed that after studying 584 users of Facebook, a common emotion aroused by using the social networking service is envy. The findings were presented in a conference in Leipzeg, Germany.

It is easy to see why. What we see in Facebook are people who doctor their photographs, present the best in themselves on vacation visiting exotic places or eating great food or getting honors (obviously people are less likely to post negative things about themselves) and achievements as well as plagiarize great photos or quotations that make them look or sound smarter than they really are. Real Life encounters, on the other hand, the study noted, is more WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

So a word of advice – if you are the envious type, or you are not the type of person who would be happy with other people’s success or who tend to compare yourself to others too much – maybe you should do Facebook less often or none at all!

(www.twitter.com/wilsonng)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 03, 2014.

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