Facebook: Is social media envy making you sad?

crazy-computer-woman.jpgThe online personalities we’ve created for ourselves nowadays may be much more realistic than they were back in the Myspace years (I know I’m not the only one guilty of posing, applying tonnes of make-up and Photohopping EVERYTHING, right?!), but even now they’re still not completely accurate representations of our real lives. After all, you can’t possibly express everything that happens from day-to-day online! So although someone may seem to have only the most idyllic, fun-loving, photos and status updates on Facebook, that doesn’t mean every second of their life is filled with holidays, gorgeous friends and lovely clothes.

Although I’m sure we’re all well aware of this, it’s sometimes hard to not feel a little envious of that blogger with the designer wardrobe, time to cook cupcakes every night and a seemingly perfect job. But that green-eyed ‘Facebook envy’ feeling is only natural, right?

Well, a new study conducted by a team of sociologists at the Utah Valley University found that the way we view our lives and ourselves could very much be dependent on how much time we spend online, which is hardly good news for those of us who need to constantly check social media a lot as part of our jobs…

The research took around 400 students and asked them a series of statements about their lives, such as “life is fair” or “many of my friends have a better life than me”. They were then asked all kinds of questions about Facebook, including how much time they spend on the social network, to see if there was any correlation.

The team soon found a pattern in that those who spend more time on Facebook start to think other people have a much better life than they do, which is a little worrying, but hardly surprising.

Two members of the team, Hui-Tzu Grace Chou and Nicholas Edge said:

“Those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives. Furthermore, those that included more people whom they did not personally know as their Facebook “friends” agreed more that others had better lives.”

It’s sad to think that browsing through the lives of your friends could have a negative impact on how you view yourself and your little place in the world. But, although in many ways the likes of Facebook and Twitter mean our online and offline lives are more closely connected than ever before, you still need to remember that photos, status updates and seemingly perfect lives can be tweaked, exaggerated and manufactured. The quicker you realise that and tear yourself away from the computer the happier you’ll be – which sounds easy in theory…

[Via Digital Trends]
Becca Caddy


  • Good Share.I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!

  • Take into account that the sense of freedom we feel online are currently being violated, it’s not only our ‘friends’ who are witnessing our actions, notes, comments, content and compliments. We’re under the watchful eye of ‘Anon’ who is actually probably paid for by the government.
    Or Henry Paulson.


    Not to be A Paranoid Pete about this, but studies don’t take into account the War On Drugs, War On Terror, NDAA, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, or the various sources of media currently being manipulated do they?
    There is too many factors to really get an honest study out of this.

    ‘You are not your Facebook/LinkedIn/MySpace/G+/StumbledUpon profile. You are a unique and beautiful snowflake, try not to be so cold about it.’

  • I am amazed by the result provided by the blogger, I was also spending times on facebook for my home site, But was not getting any satisfactory result.

  • The results of this study are interesting, but perhaps not all that surprising. People do tend to put their best game on for social media.

    I would be very interested in seeing the results of a similar study among professionals. My hunch is that there would be a similar envy issue, but it would be about how many Likes other Facebook fan pages had, and the amount of interaction happening on other Facebook pages.

Comments are closed.