Social networking getting you down?

Social media has an enormous impact on our society and day-to-day lives. It’s our means of reconnecting and interacting with old friends and new (whether they are old schoolmates, family, colleagues or someone you met at a party that one time), discussing matters of interest or discovering important news both local and international and as such Facebook has quickly become the world’s largest online social networking site and its not hard to see why. I personally find myself scrolling through my Facebook feed at times with no aim or direction of any kind, although with everyone being on Facebook and constantly being bombarded by the lives of their ‘friends’ it must impact us in some way, and that is exactly what this research article aims to examine.

The article ‘Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults’ aims reveal negative impacts Facebook usage may have on our well-being.

In order to do this the researchers including Philippe Verduyn and Oscar Ybarra from Psychology Departments in universities in Belgium and the USA had participants answered survey questions via text messages throughout the day about how they felt including how concerned they were, how lonely they felt, and how much they had used Facebook since the last survey they were asked to complete and any interaction they may have had with people outside of Facebook.

Findings concluded that the more people used Facebook the worse they felt about themselves and life satisfaction. The research suggests that,

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it,”

In saying this they it was also mentioned that there was various previous research that showed Facebook had a positive effect on the users and suggests that the connection between Facebook use and the well-being of its users includes more factors that need to be taken into account in order to be able to properly answer. These factors included the number of Facebook friends one has; loneliness and self esteem levels, supportiveness of the online network, nature of posts and depressive symptomatology as well as other influences.

In the completion of this article the researchers stated that rather coming to a definite conclusion their finding led them to raise numerous questions.

Reading over this article I began to wonder if using social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr did in fact impact people natively. They say that in order to stay positive you must surround yourself positive people, does this include those you follow on Instagram and Tumblr or the ‘friends’ you have on Facebook? Does being subject to the depressive posts that pop up in your Facebook feed latch onto you and change how you feel at the time? Is the negativity of others even over social media contagious?

PLOS ONE: Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. 2015. Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults. viewed 1 April 2015 <http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0069841>

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