Oversaturated Happiness on Facebook

By Zubair Shabbir

It’s a Friday night, you are alone at home and you start browsing Facebook. You see the amazing vacations to Hawaii, the late night parties, and the five star restaurants. You see the perfect lives of your friends and you wonder: what am I doing with my life? I’m here all alone at home looking at pictures of other people having fun. And that’s when the self-loathing and sadness kick in. Is Facebook actually making us feel worse?

A research team at the University of Michigan conducted a study on how Facebook use affects mood and self-esteem. The survey was conducted on 83 people living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Researchers sent them text messages five times a day for two weeks, asking about loneliness, mood, and overall emotional well-being. The researchers at the University of Michigan found that the more people used Facebook, the less satisfied and worse they felt.

This was because of the “FOMO” effect, or fear of missing out. We go on Facebook and see all our friends doing these amazing things and we start to regret how we spend our time. We start to feel like we’ve wasted our lives, like we should be doing more.

“If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are,” said Charles Montesquieu, an 18th-century philosopher.

This is yet another reason why Facebook puts a damper on our mood. We try to use what we see on Facebook as a standard for our lives and it just doesn’t match up. What we see on Facebook are the good times, but what your friends profiles don’t show are the hardships they go through, the struggles, the trials. Because of that we think their lives are perfect.
Facebook was originally created to make the world more open and connected. However, because of user censorship that is not the case. Facebook users generally only post the positive side of their life, leaving out the hardships they face. This makes users viewing profiles feel their lives are unsatisfactory when compared to those online. A survey of 130 students taken at Brooklyn Technical High School showed that only 23% of students post the negative aspects of their lives on Facebook.

Most people on Facebook hide behind a mask, a perfectly created façade to make them seem flawless. So do yourself a favor and just stop using peoples lives on Facebook as a standard. Strive to be happy, not happier.

 

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Sources:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/08/19/213568763/researchers-facebook-makes-us-sadder-and-less-satisfied

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/09/the-real-reason-facebook-makes-us-unhappy.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/facebook-making-sad-study/story?id=19975348

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/23/depressed-woman-appears-happy-on-facebook-trouble-ensues/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/science/good-news-spreads-faster-on-twitter-and-facebook.html?gwh=83740EC8F9C99EC3CA8B512F5087CAAF&gwt=pay&_r=0

14 Comments

  1. This is an interesting concept, and I’d like to hear more about it. It’s true that people only post on facebook when they’re happy and it’ll only make others feel worse about themselves. What do you think should be done to remedy this?

  2. I disagree with this article. Although facebook might make some people jealous of their friends lives, I believe facebook serves as motivation. If someone feels depressed by pictures they should use those emotions to get themseleves to have fun also. Facebook is a place to share things so people should be trying to make memories to post and share with others. If it is becoming such a huge problem for people that it is having a negative effect on a persons life then the person should stop using facebook and do something productive with their lives.

  3. I agree with this article. Most of the time, people only post happy moments in their lives and they tend to hide the other half. This makes it seem like the reader is missing out on the fun. However, people are unique and know that both happy and unhappy events occur in their lives. Instead of comparing one’s standard of hapiness with those of others on Facebook, people should be trying to achieve their own happiness. Everyone’s experience is different and eventually you’ll find happiness.

    Also, get off Facebook.

  4. I personally don’t think Facebook should be making people upset, even after viewing peoples’ joyous life events. Like a previous user stated, people don’t post all details about them onto this website and therefore, many people get the impression that everybody is always happy. You never know what the person is actually going through. Besides, Facebook is a way to just post something once in a while about you, not to catch up on every detail of your friends’ lives. That makes your own time wither away and it makes you depressed. Other peoples’ few joyous events should not serve as a foundation for comparison with your own life.

    Deuces

  5. Yes. This article provides an analysis of a situation that affects the lives of many teenagers. Many people have become depressed because of Facebook and this social media site has also caused negative impacts to many people’s live as well as wasting their time. While it is a good way to keep track of the lives of friends,family,acquaintances, it can also be classified as one of the most counter-productive invention of all time. It is evident that many people have wasted a good amount of time on this site and it is potentially cancerous to many people.

  6. This article voices a reality that many Facebook users try to keep in. It raises a good point that Facebook tends to do the opposite of its purpose – that it actually makes people mull over the negative aspects of their lives. The article is accurate in that many users compare their own lives to others’ profiles and sympathizes with them. It would be interesting to know what questions the Brooklyn Tech survey of 130 asked, though.

  7. I agree with what this article is saying. People will only post happy occurrances on Facebook. This creates the facade that their life is only full of happy moments. This is most likely not the case, but others don’t know that because people don’t post about their bad times on Facebook. A solution to this problem would be to stop using Facebook.

  8. This article is extremely profound. As teenagers thinking about the future, we are trying to decide what we want to do with our lives? Do we want to make money? Do we want to be famous? Do we want to make a difference? Do we want to be happy? More and more, people are deciding what they want to do with their lives by comparing themselves to others. They follow the same track as everyone; work hard, make a lot of money, and spend it. This cycle continues on and on, yet where is the happiness? When does a person truly begin to live life? This article reveals an area in our lives where this fact shines.

    I believe, as the author of this article, that people should strive to be themselves, find what makes them happy, stick to it, and simply live life. As teenagers, is seems to us that we’ll live forever. But the harsh reality is that life is very shor.t

    Stop comparing yourself to others and find your own happiness.

  9. It seems that even with studies, people still let their lives get consumed by social media. I wonder if this “depressing state” that Facebook gives to certain people will spread even larger. If so then what has our generation come to?

  10. This is true, but it was even more accurate for me in prior years. I found that within a half hour of being on Facebook, I was far more depressed than I had been before. I also found that, ironically, by not being online all the time I would find more interesting ways to spend my time. However, I also think it is a matter of maturity and realizing that nobody’s perfect. You definitely have to strive to be happy, not happier than others. Facebook should only be used if you are mature enough to use it.

  11. I totally agree with all your arguments. Usually what comes up on newsfeeds triggers many different emotions inside of us whether it be happy or sad. Negative aspects are hardly posted online because many people don’t want to be judged by others. People use facebook too much when they can rather be out doing other things.

  12. I disagree with the research that Facebook makes us less happy. I do not feel unhappy after going on Facebook. I see it simply as a form of communication and seeing what is going on with the lives of my “friends.”

  13. I found this editorial interesting and relatable. It convinced me that facebook actually does make people more depressed. The writer used evidence and data to support his point. I also like the quote he used to contribute to his argument.

  14. Facebook was originally made for college students to get to know each other. I feel Facebook has been blown into something it wasn’t orignally planned to become. Almost everyone contacts each other via Facebook because it is easy to use and it is free. I agree with you and the whole FOMO effect Facebook has been having on individuals.

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