Sunday, January 27, 2013

Facebook—A Source Of Envy?

I read a recent article about two German universities that conducted a joint study of Facebook (a report titled Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat To Users' Life Satisfaction?) which produced some very interesting conclusions.

And what are those conclusions, you might be asking?

The study found that the world's largest social network with over one billion users has provided a huge platform for comparisons of all kinds resulting in rampant envy. The researchers found that one in three Facebook users felt more dissatisfied with their lives after browsing the site. And apparently those who normally lurk without contributing were affected the most.

Their negative Facebook experience with envy left them feeling lonely, frustrated, or angry resulting in some of them leaving Facebook or, at the least, drastically reducing their use. This conclusion contributed to speculation that Facebook might be reaching a saturation point in some markets.

Researchers found that vacation photos were the largest cause of resentment, comprising more than half of the envy incidents. Social interaction was the second largest cause of envy, resulting from how many birthday greetings a friend received or how many Likes or comments were attached to photos or postings.

They found that users in their mid 30s were most likely to envy family happiness. Men were shown to post more self-promotional items to let everyone know about their accomplishments while women were more apt to stress their good looks and social lives.

The researchers said their study respondents were German but they expected the findings to apply internationally since envy is a universal feeling.

Have any of you ever had a twinge of envy when seeing vacation photos posted, read about work accomplishments, or seen the lifestyle portrayed by those on your Facebook Friends list? Wishing you could travel to those places? Or afford one of those luxury cars? Live in those elaborate surroundings? Or, for those Friends that you don't really know personally, have you ever wondered if everything they post is true?

I can say, in all honesty, that I've been envious of other people's lives (sometimes material things and at other times personal interactions). But I have had people tell me they envy some of the things I've done and accomplished, both of my long term careers over the years and personally—things that I'm seeing from a different perspective. They are outside looking in while I'm inside the reality looking out.

So…to put it in writer's terminology—it's Point Of View!


Word Actress said...

I have a love/hate relationship with FB. I'm on there
only b/c of my books. I have a rich life I create
for myself every day, so I guess I don't envy
anyone on FB. If you're not putting in enough
effort to create a happy life, I guess it could be
tempting to envy someone on FB. But believe me,
I've been around the block a time or two, long enough to know that it is never all good or all bad, thank God.

Mary Kennedy Eastham, Author,
The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget &
Squinting Over Water - Stories

Shawna Delacorte said...

Mary: As writers, we don't need social media to create interesting and/or envy producing lives and lifestyles. We do it every day for a living. :)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.