A friend of mine walked into my house recently and proclaimed, “I hate Facebook!” I laughed out loud at this because she was only being slightly, and I do mean very slightly, facetious.
She’s not alone; apparently many of us feel a bit of angst when it comes to networking , according to a new study.
Drs. Ethan Kross and John Jonides of the University of Michigan analyzed the social media habits of 82 young adults and discovered something surprising – over time, Facebook use led to greater unhappiness.
The authors theorize that one of the reasons for this is the human tendency to compare ourselves with others. Let’s face it, it’s easy to make ourselves and our jobs, marital status, and relationships with our kids seem like one big, honkin’ good time on Facebook. The result? Even though we know this is impossible, we tend to think our Facebook friends live in a perpetual state of bliss while we struggle with cranky teenagers, hot flashes and a mortgage.
And There’s More. . .
A declining sense of well-being isn’t the only Facebook negative; other networking cautionary tales are cropping up: research has shown that Facebook can have a detrimental effect on romantic relationships — Facebook stalking (known among the younger set as creeping) is fairly common among exes, and some couples even use the site to air their dirty laundry and make not- so- subtle jibes at each other.
The result? Lawyers say that social networking sites like Facebook are becoming a primary source of evidential fodder in divorce proceedings and custody battles. According to the New York Daily News, Facebook was formally named in 1/3 of divorces in 2011.
Facebook is here to stay and that’s a good thing (probably), so don’t go and delete your profile. But, do take precautions before you post:
- Don’t paste anything you wouldn’t want your mother, or better yet, your mother-in-LAW to find out about
- Use discretion when it comes to sharing information about your significant other; using it as a weapon is bad form
- Read writer Julie O’dell’s article The Facebook Effect on Relationships [INFOGRAPHIC]. In it, she shares an interesting graphic regarding social media and relationships
- Remind your kids that employers are looking at their Twitter and Facebook pages to learn more about them
- Don’t post something out of anger. If you need to get something off your chest, do what Lincoln did when he was angry: write a letter, then throw it away
- Don’t let socializing on Facebook limit true social interaction with others; the same above mentioned study showed that face-to-face interaction enhanced the participants’ feelings of self-confidence and well-being.
And finally, remember that we can avoid many Facebook problems if we just keep one newsflash in mind: IT’S PUBLIC. Those so-called privacy settings? They can only do so much. If you post something you don’t want certain people to know. . .well, just don’t.