Do you sometimes feel low or sad while going through your friend’s pictures and posts on Facebook, Twitter
or other social media
platforms? Well, a new study has finally been able to establish that this is due to what is termed “Happiness paradox”
What this really means is that most persons with seemingly happier friends on social media are more likely to feel ‘less happy’ or sad.
How did the authors arrive at this conclusion?
First, they randomly selected 4.8 million Twitter users. Next, they analyzed a group of 102,000 users that mutually followed one another on the network. After classifying them as happy or unhappy based on their comments, they found that unhappy users significantly had happier friends.
A statistical analysis of that final group found with that 94.3 percent of these twitter users had fewer friends on average than their friends. Significantly, it also found that 58.5 percent of these users weren’t as happy as their friends on average.
According to the authors in a press release
, “this study finds social media
users may experience higher levels
dissatisfaction and unhappiness due to negative comparison
between them and their friends’ happiness and popularity. Therefore, “happy social media
users may think their friends are more popular and slightly happier than they are — and unhappy social media
users will likely have unhappy friends who still seem happier and more popular than they are on average.”
This suggests that the social media users sometimes generate a ‘false impression of happiness’ which potentially leaves persons with a tendency to compare themselves with others unhappy. It may also partly explain the high levels of bullying, hate speech and trolls on social media despite attempts to curb such acts.
This new report adds to the growing evidence that there may be potential harms from heavy use of social media
, addictive potential and poor mental health
are some of the harmful consequences of excessive involvement with social media
According to a report
published May, 2017, the social media
platforms rated as most harmful were:
- Instagram-most harmful
- YouTube (least harmful)
More than a billion individuals also use WhatsApp which has not yet been evaluated.
The new study highlights the danger of unhealthy comparison and its impact on ones mental and emotional well-being.
Do you often compare yourself with others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat? Well, this is not uncommon. Humans generally have a tendency to compare their status, current state and things with others. Unfortunately, negative comparison breeds unhappiness and lack of satisfaction.
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