Have you been happier or less happy ever since you started using Facebook on an ongoing basis? Studies have revealed that constant presence on social media has been a cause of depression among many people. The Internet is being blamed for the short attention span and the intellectual shallowness that people are developing. It’s easier to react on Facebook (or any other social networking website). It’s easier to vent. It’s easier to compare your life to your friends’ or other family members’. Does Facebook make you happy or unhappy?
The Happiness Research Institute (yes, there is an institute for that, and this is good) put this question on, yes, Facebook. 1095 people in Denmark participated in the study carried out by the Institute and the study was called “The Facebook Experiment” (link to a PDF download, does not open the browser somehow); the primary aim of the experiment was to find out, does Facebook make you happy or unhappy?
The participants needed to tell in general, how satisfied they are with their lives now, after having started using Facebook, compared to the part of their lives when they were not using Facebook? Are they happy or unhappy? Are they more satisfied with their lives or unsatisfied?
This was not a one-time questionnaire. The study was carried out at different levels. After having answered whether they were satisfied with their lives today or not, they were divided into two groups. One group was asked not to use Facebook for a week and the other group was told to go on using it.
When both the groups were compared, it was found that Facebook users are 39% more likely to be unhappy (comparatively) than their friends who stopped using Facebook. People who stopped using Facebook experienced their happiness increasing. People who didn’t use Facebook reported a significantly higher level of life satisfaction compared to those who used it.
Does Facebook make you happy or unhappy? I think we have used Facebook and other networking websites long enough to start contemplating these issues because they are going to have a lasting impact on not just our day-to-day matters of life, but also alter our personalities as social beings.