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Is Facebook Making You Depressed?
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A Facebook blog post authored by Facebook’s Director of Research David Ginsberg and research scientist Moira Burke says that using Facebook without participating in your news feed makes you feel bad.
“According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology. For example, on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends — messaging and commenting on each other’s posts. Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse,” the post says.
The solution? Make sure you interact on Facebook by “liking,” commenting and sharing the content you read there.
It sounds like it makes sense, but is this really just a marketing ploy?
The data and these ideas come from Facebook itself, who has a vested interest in getting you to actively use its site… and there’s peer-reviewed scientific evidence that says using social media at all can make you sad, regardless of whether you engage with your friends’ posts.
It’s even worse if you envy your friends on Facebook, which can lead to depression, according to a study published in Current Opinion in Psychology. The highlights of that study include the facts that unflattering social comparison and envy are common experiences for Facebook users, and Facebook use has been linked to depression and negative affectivity.
What Do You Think?
Do you think Facebook is healthy, unhealthy, or somewhere in between? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them on my Facebook page (provided I haven’t scared you away) or on my Twitter feed.