Research suggests Facebook makes people miserable
Facebook users in a study led by the University of Michigan wound up feeling worse about themselves after two weeks, and their moment-to-moment mood darkened the more they browsed the social medium. It didn’t seem to matter how big their network was, how supportive they thought their friends were, nor why they went to Facebook in the first place, according to the study published online Wednesday in PLOS One.
“We were able to show on a moment-to-moment basis throughout the day how people’s mood fluctuated depending on their Facebook usage,” said University of Michigan social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the study.
“We measured lots and lots of other personality and behavioral dimensions, like, for example, frequency of Facebook use,” Kross said. “But none of the factors that we assessed influenced the results. The more you used Facebook, the more your mood dropped.”
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But other studies have suggested Facebook can evoke envy of others’ activities and profile, leaving users with diminished self-images. Another study suggested that people with low self-esteem don’t reap a benefit from tinkering with their online image, either.
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Toma suggested that users’ emotions and sense of worth may be negatively influenced by the discord between tailored online images of others and their unedited view of themselves.
“Instead of doing a person-to-person profile, you’re comparing a profile and a person,” Toma said.
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