A pair of new studies out this week indicate that Facebook makes people feel terrible about themselves and too much Twitter can lead to breakups. Is the internet a series of tubes that does nothing but suck all of the joy out of people's lives? Probably.
The first bit of Life: You're Doing It Wrong research comes from the University of Missouri School of Jounalism. Researchers there surveyed 581 Twitter users and found that those who reported using Twitter a helluva lot also tended to have Twitter related problems in their relationships. Late night DM'ing that gets out of hand and leads to some IRL F'ing (if you get my acrostical cutesiness); increased relationship angst was associated with heavy Twitter usage. Know what is worse for relationships than Tweeting a lot? Going tens of thousands of dollars into debt for j-school. But I digress.
Next, we move on to some research from across the pond in Austria, where University of Innsbruck psychologists have determined that people tend to log onto Facebook expecting to be awash with good warm feelings about each other and about life in general only to discover that in fact Facebook makes them feel like useless shitpiles who can't even be trusted to drop off their dry cleaning in a timely manner and now look it's April and that grimy but gorgeous trench coat that needs to be cleaned and pressed is still hanging there grubby sleeved because you can't fucking leave the house five minutes early and drop it off at the goddamn dry cleaners OH MY GOD STOP FUCKING UP. WEAR THE GODDAMN HOODIE TO THE FANCY RESTAURANT. YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF. Subjects were divided into groups, some were asked to use Facebook for a period of time, others were not. The groups that used Facebook were much more likely to report that they felt bad afterward. Here's more on that from PC mag,
"Our findings suggest that—on a daily basis—hundreds of millions of people engage in an activity that they consider (not very) meaningful," they write In the journal Computers in Human Behavior, "which in turn dampens their mood."
People feel better when they feel productive. And unless you're drunk and costalking your roommate's newest OKCupid matches and it turns out he's got really lax security settings so you can see like 7,000 of his photos, Facebook is not usually a productive place to spend time.
Of course, there's a chicken-egg component to the notion that people who use Twitter constantly have relationship problems; perhaps people retreat to Twitter because they're already dissatisfied and looking for comfort elsewhere. And maybe it's not Facebook itself that makes people feel bummed out, but rather the fact that Facebook tends to be an inaccurate and wildly rosy picture of other people's allegedly activity and productivity-filled lives and so spending time on it leads us to believe that we are the least productive lumps of nothing in all of the land.
No matter what is at the root of Twitter and Facebook-based dissatisfaction, it probably can't hurt to turn off your laptop walk around outside for a few minutes.
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