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Facebook really makes you sad, even academics say so

Facebook makes you sad. You might’ve suspected it for a while now, especially if your friends always seem to be gallivanting in some exotic location, but now the egg-heads have confirmed it.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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A newly published study from the University of Michigan has found that people tend to feel worse and less-satisfied after using the world’s largest social network, and that’s not even on the days it rolls out a new feature.

The study, which lists Ethan Kross of the university’s psychology department as the lead author, saw the team text-message 82 people five times a day for two-weeks “to examine how Facebook use influences the two components of subjective well-being: how people feel moment-to-moment and how satisfied they are with their lives”.

The results seem pretty startling:

“The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time we text-messaged them; the more they used Facebook over two-weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time”, the study’s abstract says.

Interestingly, this trend doesn’t seem to have been at all mitigated by interacting “directly” with other people, or by the size of their individual networks.In fact, even factors such as motivation for using Facebook, gender, loneliness, self-esteem, or depression didn’t seem to play a role in how people felt after going on Facebook.

That study would seem to suggest therefore that time spending time on Facebook is awful for you, no matter who are. It’s suggested remedy is rather obvious — get off Facebook and speak to people in real life — but it’s probably given a little extra credence coming from academics.

On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling such needs by allowing people to instantly connect. Rather than enhancing well-being, as frequent interactions with supportive “offline” social networks powerfully do, the current findings demonstrate that interacting with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults — it may undermine it.

Now, does anyone want to tackle whether or not Twitter genuinely makes us angry?