Do you spend hours of your day looking over the status updates of your Facebook friends?  How do you feel after reading these updates?  A recent study done by Jordan (2011) from the Stanford University in California shows that Facebook can make us feel sadder and lonelier.  Using college students in his research, Jordan could see that the students would feel somewhat crummy about themselves after looking over the status updates of friends on their Facebook page.
As human beings, we tend to compare ourselves to others. Not only do we compare our lives to others, we also want to do more and be better than the people we are comparing ourselves to.  Facebook gives us the platform to put our best “selves” out for everyone to see.

  1. People can display the most fun, smart, and outgoing versions of themselves;
  2. Sending the invitation for comparisons
  3. Making us feel like “losers” because we don’t have the perfect lives we see that from our friends on Facebook.

Facebook is in a way like a “stage” for people to perform on. In this world your self-worth is based on how many friends you have, the attractive photos you share of yourself, your impressive biography, your accomplishments, the shows you watch, the pages you “like,” and the funny and insightful updates you post on your page.  The way that the Facebook platform is designed, according to Jordan (2011); it reinforces the upbeat and cheerful nature of Facebook.  Sad and negative posts are not going to make you popular unless you make light of a bad situation.

Social media was designed so that people could connect and re-connect. Facebook is a great way to reconnect with old friends and to stay-in-touch with friends and family.  However, the more we rely on technology as a median to communicate, the more isolated we become, and this isolation can lead to loneliness and depression.  We live fast-paced lives, some people are working multiple jobs, going to school and have many commitments to attend to that social media and texting are the best tools they can use to maximize their time and to communicate with the people in their lives.  Therefore is becoming more and more difficult to develop and nurture relationships, and this lifestyle could lead us into isolation and after a while loneliness.

facebook_collage_status_profile_depression_sad_girls_womenHere is what you can do if you are experiencing “Facebook Depression”:

  1. Stop Comparing Your Life to the “Status Updates” of Your Facebook Friends and remember that Facebook is like a play or the cover of a magazine, and people are presenting their best selves.  Facebook is designed for you to share happy things, and the reality is that we are not happy 24/7, we do have frustrations and disappointments, and we’re just not sharing these negative moments on Facebook, such as our financial worries, discontentment with our jobs, and so on.  Therefore, our Facebook friends are humans, with imperfections and frustrations just like you.
  2. Be Thankful and “Like” Your “Own Status Updates.” Every day make a list of least five things you are thankful for.  This exercise will help you recognize the great things that you already have in your life and will help you see how far you have come and you will start appreciating your own accomplishments.
  3. Send out “Face Friends Requests.“ Go out with friends, share your hobbies with them and do activities together, such as working out, taking dance lessons, or bragging a cup of coffee.  Spend time face-to-face with your friends; it will help you live closer to reality, you will realize that your friends have some of the same struggles you are facing right now.   Research shows that people who have a support system, meaning they have friends and they spend time with these friends, they are less likely to suffer with depression.

Resources:

Copeland, L. (2011).  The Anti-Social Network:  By Helping Other People Look Happy, Facebook is Making Us Sad. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com.

Jordan A. (2011).  Misery Has More Company Than People Think:  Underestimating the Prevalence of Other’s Negative Emotions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.  January 2011, 37:120-135.

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Article Written by Marta Rocha