Daily Archives: January 25, 2016

Does Facebook Make You Happy

There is an article circulating that states that those who give up Facebook are happier.

Unfortunately, people reading such articles rarely read the entire article to see the actual findings, how many people participated, and where they were from. support_groups_on_facebook

This particular research included a mere 1095 Facebook users. The study was done in Copenhagen, so I would assume that is where the participants lived, but that is not necessarily so. The study was conducted by The Happiness Research Institute

Let’s break down the findings from the study of 1095 people, which does not even make up 1% of the people using Facebook, but that doesn’t seem to matter to researchers.

Scientifically speaking, it is perfectly fine to use a sample group and then make generalizations about the overall population. However, you would normally have a more inclusive representation of daily users. If you are going to use such a small sampling, then you should summarize the findings based on their common characteristics, which have to be more than the fact that they use Facebook every day.

Some of the questions I would want answered are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Do they live alone, or with how many do they live?
  • Do they spend most of their time at home alone?
  • Are they working?
  • Are they taking care of others in the home, such as children or ill loved ones?
  • Are they disabled in any way?
  • Are they depressed regardless of their use of Facebook?

Now think about those questions and how they might affect someone who logs in to Facebook every day. If you live alone, then Facebook helps you have contact with the outside world. The drawback is that it can also make you envious of what others are able to do, but at least you have contact. The same scenario applies if you are disabled or stuck at home as a caregiver.

Perhaps your family lives in another state and you don’t see them often. Then Facebook becomes a vital tool in keeping those relationships current and active.

As you can see, personal circumstances and satisfaction with life in general will have an effect on all of your experiences, including your time on Facebook.

So how can we truly say that Facebook or the lack thereof will make you happier?

Now we’ll take a look at the findings of this “study.”

Take note of the numbers such as:

  • 39% are more likely to be less happy… which means 61% (majority) feel at least as happy if not happier than their friends.
  • 5 out of 10 which is half or 50% which is basically a coin toss, envy amazing experiences of others.  Interestingly, I also envy “some” amazing experiences regardless of where I learn about them.
  • 1 out of 3 envy the happiness of others on FB, which means that 2 out of 3 are not envious, which is the majority.
  • 4 out of 10 envying the success of others likewise means that they are in the minority because 6 out of 10 or 60% are not feeling envious of other people’s success or appearance of success on Facebook.

The actual quote on the findings:

“People on Facebook are 39% more likely to feel less happy than their friends,” reads the study. “Instead of focussing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have […] 5 out of 10 envy the #amazing experiences of others posted on Facebook. 1 out of 3 envy how #happy other people seem on Facebook. 4 out of 10 envy the apparent #success of others on Facebook.”

 

If you’re still interested in this study in spite of the fact that they misspelled focusing and in spite of the fact that it is utter nonsense, you can read more about it where I discovered it at SocialMediaWeek.com.

You can also download the report from the Happiness Research Institute.

Meanwhile, don’t worry. Be happy that millions of people can connect with each other using Facebook, or can connect with support groups, hobby groups, religious groups and political groups as well as fan groups and so much more.

The risks and the dangers of Facebook are minimal when compared to the benefits of its existence.

Thank you Mark Zuckerburg.

MarkZ