While yesterday we BBBlogged about Facebook’s role in boosting self-esteem, some other recent psychology research argues the opposite. Though Stanford’s Alex Jordan, et al, agree that Facebook allows for the posting of primarily positive things (i.e. self-esteem boosting pictures and quotes or smart profile additions), they argue that constantly seeing images of your peers expressing joy can amplify depressive or negative feelings about oneself. Slate‘s Libby Copeland wrote on the report:
By showcasing the most witty, joyful, bullet-pointed versions of people’s lives, and inviting constant comparisons in which we tend to see ourselves as the losers, Facebook appears to exploit an Achilles’ heel of human nature. And women—an especially unhappy bunch of late—may be especially vulnerable to keeping up with what they imagine is the happiness of the Joneses.
The “happiness of the Joneses” is an important idea; how “relative” is happiness? Does seeing others in a fixed state of joy, as we often see them on Facebook, make us feel that we are alone with our problems? Or does our ability to craft a see-what-we-want, joyful, flattering Facebook persona make us happy?
(read the rest of Copeland’s nice Slate piece here)