New study shows Facebook updates may lead to depression

By Adam Arinder

How many times have you checked Facebook today?

With so many ways to access the social network, I’m sure you have it up on your phone, iPod or laptop, ready to switch back to it because you’re already bored with what I have to say.

But don’t look away just yet.

I know you have your fake farm to attend to, or you want to continue stalking that cute girl in your economics class. But whether you knew it or not, Facebook is slowly making you more and more depressed.

At least that’s what a recent study from Stanford suggests.

While a Ph.D. student at Stanford University, Alex Jordan conducted numerous studies monitoring students’ involvement in the site as well as their reactions to their friends’ posts.

In Jordan’s first study, he and his research team surveyed 80 freshmen asking them to report whether they or their peers had recently experienced any positive or negative emotional events after looking at Facebook updates.

When the students responded, a large majority of them overestimated how good their friends’ lives are and how much fun they appear to have while underestimating the amount of negative experiences their friends were actually having.

The team conducted a second and third study surveying different age students at Stanford, and the same results of overestimating their friends’ “perfect” lives appeared time and time again.

Basically, it seems to boil down to an imaginary façade Facebook places on users, causing them to equate what they perceive to be the perfect lives of their friends in comparison to the perception of their own lives.

Obviously, the amount of depression or anxiety depends on the user, but logic does seem to make sense.

Say, for instance, you’re stuck at home on a Friday night and do nothing but stare at Facebook on your computer monitor.

You see posts of your friends having a blast at Fred’s Bar in Tigerland while clicking through the pictures they uploaded from the night before.

After enough updates from different people come pouring in, you perceive at that point in time that their lives must be superior to yours.

“Look at all the fun they’re having while I sit here wasting the night away milking virtual cows.”

It’s definitely real.

And I would say it’s safe to claim nearly everyone has experienced this feeling at least once in his or her life.

Whether it’s just for a splitsecond or for an extended period of time, the grass does always appear greener on the other side — “appear” being the key word there.

Facebook isn’t an exact representation of people’s lives. It’s only what they choose to share.

MIT professor Sherry Turkle writes about the exhaustion felt by teenagers as they constantly tweak their Facebook profile for maximum cool in her new book “Alone Together.”

Man, I need to go set my profile for “maximum cool.”

Lame teenage lingo aside, Turkle does have a point.

People have become so enthralled with creating a false persona for themselves on the Internet to display to their friends, it’s causing some of their friends to possibly lose grip of reality.

Last week I covered the pope’s new stance on creating online personas for oneself — he isn’t a fan.

There’s nothing wrong with creating a “virtual you.” But that’s where it should stay — on the Internet.

Once the lines of virtual reality and actual reality cross, there’s a problem.

Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with old friends and serve as the ultimate procrastination tool during exam week. But every once in awhile, instead of poking or waiting for a response on Facebook Chat, pick up your phone — yes, that crazy handheld device you use to check Facebook — and give them a call.

Spend more actual time with your friends as opposed to virtual time with them on Facebook. You’ll easily learn their lives are just as messed up as yours — if not more.

Read more here:
Copyright 2024 The Daily Reveille