Thanks, Facebook!

A new research article in the interestingly-titled journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, argues that facebook is a self-esteem booster.  In the study, one group of subjects were allowed to spend several minutes tinkering with their facebook profiles, while subjects in the other group sat and looked in the mirror for the same period of time.  Using some well-trod, in-depth self-esteem tests, the subjects’ perceived self-esteem levels were measured.

The lead researcher, Jeffrey Hancock of Cornell, argues that the reason for the Facebook boost is the overall “positive” nature of Facebook content;  One can post mainly flattering pictures of them self and update their status with primarily witty comments, and the majority of social interactions on the site are positive.   These factors have an obvious correlation with high self-esteem:

The results revealed that… becoming self-aware by viewing one’s own Facebook profile enhances self-esteem rather than diminishes it. These findings suggest that selective self-presentation in digital media, which leads to intensified relationship formation, also influences impressions of the self…By providing multiple opportunities for selective self-presentation—through photos, personal details, and witty comments—social-networking sites exemplify how modern technology sometimes forces us to reconsider previously understood psychological processes.

The moral of the story…close this window and go Facebook for a few hours, I guess.  Weird…

h/t sciencedaily

About the author

Sam McDougle

SAM MCDOUGLE is a Ph.D. candidate in Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University. His writing has appeared in Vice and The Atlantic.

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3 Comments

  • Hmmm, interesting, but what happens when it begins to creep into your consciousness that there’s a pretty substantial space between the always witty version of you that you present online and the less glamorous reality? While at Stanford completing his PhD in psychology, Alex Jordan asked just this question. The more pessimistic results of his research were published in the January issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

  • Facebook I feel celebritizes people though. I think people no longer are ‘friends’ with each other, but ‘fans’ of each other. They look at whats going on instead of finding out the good old fashioned way. I just deleted my Facebook and I have no regrets because A) I’m getting so much more work accomplished and B) I’m having more intimate relationships with people rather than practically stalking them. Facebook is good if not misused, but I feel the younger generation who has spent some formative years on it are really missing out on some aspects of life.

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