Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites that exist today. Many Internet users utilize the new media to get information, connect with friends and share pictures and articles. While all of these activities associated with Facebook seem harmless, using the new media device has had many negative effects in general.
One article that discusses the negative effects of Facebook is “How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy,” by Maria Konnikova. The article talks about a study that was conducted from a University of Michigan psychologist to determine the effects of Facebook use. The psychologist found that the more people used Facebook, the less happy they felt. While Facebook is a great tool for instigating the feeling of social connectedness, it overall enables people to feel lonelier and more depressed. This was directly associated with the frequency of use. Lonelier people are inherently more likely to go online, and Facebook is a new media platform that creates feelings of alienation.
Another study in the article discussed how social media overall also instigates problems in relationships by increasing feelings of jealousy and envy. The author brings up a significant point that “with an increase in time people spent browsing the site, as opposed to actively creating content and engaging with it, the more envious people feel,” which can be explained by the social-psychology phenomenon called social comparison. With personal information now more easily accessible, learning about the achievements of others has increased, thus allowing Facebook users to compare themselves directly with others.
As a millennial, it is difficult for me to admit that I for the most find that the negative effects discussed in this article is a good and accurate example of the effects of new media in general. In “Reclaiming Conversations,” the author stresses how physical conversations allow people to engage in an empathetic manner, which is crucial in developing relationships. Facebook hinders people from connecting on intimate levels that cannot replicate conversations and relationship that are developed from physically being present.
Using Facebook can also become addictive which can have negative social effects as well. In fact, 65% of Internet users use Facebook daily and spend and average of over 20 minutes on Facebook per day in periodic increments. The curiosity of wanting to learn about other people and wanting others learn about us drives people to constantly browse Facebook feeds in order to remain current.
It also creates an added pressure to maintain a certain image and creates conflicting feelings of self-identity. In the book “Contagious- Why Things Catch On,” author Jonah Berger talks about the term “social currency” and how social media users are more prone to share things that make them look good. Facebook users filter what statuses and pictures they post and what articles they share in order to maximize social currency.
Also in support that Facebook has negative effects, the video by The Lip TV discusses a study that discovered that women who use Facebook more negative psychological effects. Facebook is primarily and seemingly used to connect socially, but in reality is used for self-aggrandizement. Facebook users are more likely to select positive content to upload. They inaccurately represent users and create pressure to socially compete with others.
Overall, I feel that Konnikova’s argument that Facebook has critical negative effects is accurate for the most part. New media is such a conflicting tool because while it may allow Internet users to connect in ways that were not accessible earlier, it creates social anxiety that has negative effects on society.
Berger, J. (2013). Contagious- Why Things Catch On. New York, NY. Simon & Schuster.
Facebook Has Negative Side Effects on Women (Video file). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmaaQ5PDiXI
Kenrick, D. T. (2014, Apr 11). 7 Ways Facebook Is Bad For Your Mental Health. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201404/7-ways-facebook-is-bad-your-mental-health
Konnikova, M. (2013, Sep 10). How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy. The New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/how-facebook-makes-us-unhappy
Smith, C. (2016, Feb 22). By The Numbers: 200+ Amazing Facebook Statistics. DMR. Retrieved from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/
Turkle, S. (2015). Reclaiming Conversation. New York, NY. Penguin Random