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.