University of Michigan researchers have found that staying connected to others through social media, specifically Facebook, exacts a heavy psychological tole, making users sadder and less satisfied with their lives. John Jonides, a neuroscientist who led an experiment which asked 82 participants how they felt about their daily use of Facebook at different times of the day, said: “When you’re on a site like Facebook, you get lots of posts about what people are doing. That sets up social comparison — you maybe feel your life is not as full and rich as those people you see on Facebook.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Counterintuitively, people with the most active real-world social lives suffered the most as a result of their Facebook use, reporting a more severe and longer lasting mood decline than those with less active social groups. “It suggests that when you are engaging in social interactions a lot, you’re more aware of what others are doing and, consequently, you might be more sensitized about what’s happening on Facebook and comparing that to your own life,” Jonides says. Researchers suggest the best solution to the Facebook blues is less Facebook. Analog communication like phone calls and face-to-face visits were shown to increase well-being.