Towards the end of last year, two of Facebook’s social scientists acknowledged in a blog post that passive consumption of content on the platform can affect a user’s mood and mental health. The authors, director of research David Ginsberg and Moira Burke, a research scientist, say that recent research blaming social media for an increase in alienation, depression and anxiety is “compelling.” They go on to cite a number of findings including one that found a direct relationship between clicking “likes” and links and a reduced sense of mental health.
The researchers, Keith Wilcox of Columbia University and Andrew T. Stephen of the University of Pittsburgh, sought to find out if there were any negative effects of social media amid reports that social media made users feel more connected and also helped improve their self-esteem, boosting their overall happiness. They already knew that when people are happy, and they feel good about themselves, they’re likely to “license themselves…to let their guard down,” says Stephen. In other words, the emotions contribute to lower self-control. “We wondered if that would play out in this instance.” It did.
Stephen points out an experiment where after using Facebook briefly, users were taken directly to an eBay-type auction and told to bid on an iPad. Surprisingly, those with stronger networks on social media ended up bidding up to 30 perfect more than they’d have spent on the same device if they had just walked into a store.
Source Credit: Entrepreneur Middle East