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?
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.