Last year two studies revealed what some researchers are calling Facebook Depression. Unlike other depressions Facebook Depression is on set from people who are already feeling a hint of depression and seeing the happy posts, pics and videos from friends, families and even complete strangers trigger an even darker depression for some users.
A new study called “They Are Happier and Having Better Lives Than I am” has been released by Utah Valley University, of 425 students found that people who use Facebook often tend to have a negative worldview. The study, which controlled race, religious beliefs and gender, found that those who used Facebook more agreed that life was unfair, and others had better lives than they did.
More after the break
Sociologist Hui-Tzu Grace Chou, who was involved in the study, suggested that these feelings may be a result of people reflecting their personal brand vs their authentic self. Chou pointed out that people use pictures of them smiling, and having fun and of course they hide the times when they may be scared, sad or depressed themselves.
Chou want on to say:
“Those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives. Furthermore, those that included more people whom they did not personally know as their Facebook ‘friends’ agreed more that others had better lives.”
The study also suggested that people who were actually happier may spend more time socializing in person rather than resorting to social networks like Facebook. The unhappiest Facebook users tended to friend strangers more often. In this case they wouldn’t know those people first hand and of course see only the happy forward facing images that the user wants them to see.
With Facebook changing to the Timeline profile system on Monday there will be bigger opportunities for people to look even happier than they looked before. The Timeline Profile works like a magazine page with big blow up pictures and highlights from Facebook members lives.
On the flip side, Facebook is concerned about the effect it has on people and also users who may feel suicidal and have been proactive on that front for the past few years. Back in March of last year Facebook launched an initiative thats as simple as filling out a short form when someone is concerned about the emotional well being of one of their Facebook Friends. When the form is filled out someone at a Facebook operations center immediately takes action and contacts the proper agencies.