You don't say!
According to a new study by the University of Copenhagen, regular social media usage––hi, Facebook!––impacts your emotional well being and overall satisfaction.
Wait, wait, wait... I know what you're thinking: I could have told you that.
Yeah, well, to that I say, You're not the University of Copenhagen.
Here's an excerpt:
Most people use Facebook on a daily basis; few are aware of the consequences. Based on a 1-week experiment with 1,095 participants in late 2015 in Denmark, this study provides causal evidence that Facebook use affects our well-being negatively. By comparing the treatment group (participants who took a break from Facebook) with the control group (participants who kept using Facebook), it was demonstrated that taking a break from Facebook has positive effects on the two dimensions of well-being: our life satisfaction increases and our emotions become more positive. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that these effects were significantly greater for heavy Facebook users, passive Facebook users, and users who tend to envy others on Facebook.
Yes, envy. Facebook-related "envy" was a characteristic in participants who were asked to answer questions about how they felt when viewing Facebook posts from friends who appeared happy and successful. Active and passive Facebook use was determined through the following factors:
- How often participants posted status updates and photos of their own.
- How often they commented on friends' posts.
- How much time they spent browsing newsfeeds and looking through Facebook profiles.
This envy creates a "deterioration of mood," the researchers wrote, and spending too much time reading social media stories fosters "unrealistic social comparisons."
Those who reported they were actively engaging in conversation and connecting with people on social media had a much more positive social media experience, the study found. By contrast, those who spent more time "lurking" on social media without interacting with anyone were more likely to report negative experiences on social media.
Log off for a week, the researchers say, and you'll find yourself feeling much less gloomy.
The study is not without its limitations. There may have been selection bias in the sample––86 percent of the study's participants were female. The findings are not representative of the entire population.
Older studies have reported similar results. A 2014 study linked Facebook usage to depression, and a study conducted the year before that found that Facebook negatively impacted the emotional well being of young adults.