How Facebook Use Undermines Life Satisfaction

We all have an inkling as to the good and bad side of Facebook. The good side is obviously the memes. The bad side is the fact that our parents also use Facebook. Another good thing is that we get to keep in touch with friends, another bad thing though, we are bombarded with tons of information constantly. Along with bombarding us with information, being on Facebook also prompts an emotional response, which is usually why, we keep logging on to Facebook. We feel happy, sad, excited, and a whole bunch of emotions. While intuitively we feel these emotions and sometimes discuss them over tea. Often we don’t really think about these emotions and what they mean and how they impact us in the larger scheme of things in life. But what happens when we do?

The Thought Process

While Facebook had been linked to positive emotions, not much had been said about the negative emotions. In a study titled Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users Life Satisfaction?  researchers wanted to quantify the effects of Facebook on individuals. They were curious to see how Facebook shaped emotional states and wanted to test two things –

  1. What kind of emotional responses Facebook leads to?
  2. What is the impact of those responses?

The researchers hypothesized that passive following on Facebook had a negative impact on life satisfaction and passive following on Facebook is positively associated with Envy. They also hypothesized that Facebook is negatively associated with life satisfaction.

What They Did

The researchers administered two Studies:

  1. To test the emotional responses Facebook leads to
    1. They asked participants to state how they felt after using Facebook. 357 participants responded to the questionnaire
    2. The three main questions targeted the emotional response after using Facebook, the cause of frustration on Facebook and what triggers Envy and how Facebook plays into that narrative.
  2. To Test the Impact of Envy
    1. They asked participants to fill out a 9 item survey regarding envy.

 

What They Found

The researchers had hypothesized three different hypothesis and two of them were supported. They found no connection between passive following on Facebook and life satisfaction. They did, however, find a strong connection between passive following and envy as well as a negative link between life satisfaction and envy.

What this Means For Us

Two things – firstly, decrease passive following on facebook. You know when you are slightly bored and decide to simply scroll on Facebook mindlessly? That action has been linked to a lot of negative emotions, especially envy. This also means that we ought to use Facebook less altogether. 

The second implication is that every so often we ought to take a step back and introspect on our emotional states a little more often than we probably needed to when Facebook didn’t exist.