Patt Morrison for January 31, 2011

Is Facebook making us unhappy?

Mercer 14369

Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Recent studies say Facebook makes us underestimate how unhappy and lonely others are and leads us to believe that our friends and family are all happier than us.

In a virtual world where you can filter and sculpt your public persona, sociologists are increasingly finding that hours spent viewing our peers’ polished lives—their awesome vacations; their nights out partying; their above-average-children—is making us unhappy. Are they Just Like Us? Or are they happier and framed in better lighting? Recent studies say Facebook makes us underestimate how unhappy and lonely others are; it leads us to believe that our friends and family are all happier than us. Does Facebook make us less happy? Or at least force us to project a happy image with all those “Like” and no “Hate” buttons?

Guest:

Karen Sternheimer, sociology professor at the University of Southern California specializing in youth and media; author of Connecting Popular Culture and Social Problems: Why the Media is not the Answer

Alex Jordan, a social psychologist and a visiting assistant professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; co-authored the recent study “Misery Has More Company Than People Think: Underestimating the Prevalence of Others’ Negative Emotions,” which looked at the way social networking makes us feel.


blog comments powered by Disqus