Facebook Makes Us Unhappy
Updated: May 22, 2019
As an experienced therapist, I work with many clients who talk about Facebook and how it has been impacting their feelings about themselves and others. As engaging as it can be, Facebook – and other social media – can strongly impact our mood and how we see ourselves. Although Facebook can help us feel a sense of connection with others, it can also have the opposite result. While we may enjoy hearing about our friends’ accomplishments and vacations, it can often lead to a subtle sense of envy, feeling “left out,” and a general dissatisfaction with our lives.
Consistent with what we see with our own therapy clients here in Chicago, the article “The Impact of Facebook from the New Yorker,” Maria Konnikova points out numerous studies on how the use of social media, particularly Facebook, ultimately impacts our emotional well-being.
According to a recent study from The University of Michigan, people do not join Facebook because they believe they are going to be sad and lonely. Yet, that is exactly how they feel using Facebook. Ethan Kross was the psychologist who conducted this study and he concluded at the end of study that overall, Facebook os making people who use it unhappy.
Human beings are social creatures and one would think that a platform designed to make socializing easier would make us happier, but this is not true of Facebook. The question now is why? While Facebook is designed to be a social platform, only about 9% of users actually use the platform to communicate with others. The other 91% essentially lurk and watch over people. It is really a digital form of voyeurism.
So why does lurking make people so unhappy? To start, consuming small little random pieces of data is not satisfying nor fulfilling. Couple this with the envy that starts to build within people on Facebook and it seems fairly clear why become so unhappy on the Facebook platform.