1. Facebook makes you treat people who aren’t your friends like they aren’t your friends.
A study by University of Colorado professor Christopher Sibona found that “40 percent of people surveyed said they would avoid in real life anyone who unfriended them on Facebook.”
Says Sibona: “People who are unfriended may face similar psychological effects [reduced sense of belonging, lowered self-esteem] … because unfriending may be viewed as a form of social exclusion.” Which makes sense, because that is exactly what unfriending is.
2. Facebook guilt-trips you for smoking cigarettes in front of your friends, even though you are a rebel.
A study out of the University of Edinburgh found that when you have more Facebook friends, you have more opportunity to offend people with what you post: “Stress arises when a user presents a version of themself on Facebook that is unacceptable to some of their online ‘friends,’ such as posts displaying behaviour such as swearing, recklessness, drinking and smoking.”
3. Facebook makes you mad jealous of other people’s joyful family moments.
In a German study done at Humboldt University, researchers found that for Facebook users, looking at pictures of “other people’s vacations, joyful family moments and awesome nights out may be a threat to your sense of personal happiness.”
It should be noted that respondents weren’t necessarily saying THEY were jealous, but that they knew SOME people who would be: “When asked what makes ‘other people’ feel bad about looking at Facebook, nearly 1 in 3 respondents cited jealousy.”
4. Facebook use on the computer makes you better at using the computer.
Amazingly, a study out of the University of Linz in Austria found that teens (and tweens) who used Facebook and played video games had a higher level of “practical computer knowledge” than those who … didn’t use computers as much.
5. Facebook is letting everyone see how totally awkward you are.
An admittedly small (n = 62) study out of Washington University found that everyone who looks at your Facebook profile can tell whether you’ll be cool at a party or not: “Individuals with higher levels of social anxiety posted a greater amount of information about themselves in every section of their profile home page except for number of activities. This pattern was consistent across all types of information, including lines in the about me section, and number of interests, quotes, books, music, and movies.” Aw. What if you just like so many bands?!
6. Facebook is making you gain weight and credit card debt.
This study, which we covered a couple months back, said that going on Facebook enhanced users’ self-worth, which made them go crazy with narcissism to the point of losing control of their appetites: “[Facebook-induced] poor self-control is associated with making unhealthier food choices and a greater likelihood of engaging in binge eating.”
Characteristically, it was not good science!
7. Facebook picks you up when you are down.
A Madison-Wisconsin study suggested that our collective and kind of sad (not their words, technically) need for self-affirmation is what has propelled the continued growth of Facebook. The researchers found that Facebook users log in to the site after dealing with “a blow to the ego.”
8. Facebook Is Making You Very Depressed/Prone To Morose Facebook Statuses
In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that suggested some kids who use Facebook regularly can become depressed when the images/posts they see make them feel like they aren’t “measuring up.”
Later, a trillion times over, the study was disputed. And studied again. And disputed.
9. Facebook makes you jealous of your girlfriend’s Facebooking.
A study published in the CyberPsychology & Behavior Journal found that Facebook users who spend more time on Facebook use more of that time stalking their girlfriends and boyfriends and wondering why they really needed to be Facebook friends with HIM or what it means that they just changed their picture from that one of you two on the quad to one of just her playing beer pong.
10. Facebook makes you talk about your girlfriend when you’re happy with your girlfriend.
A University of Toronto study (with, incidentally, a perfect title: “Can You See How Happy We Are?”) found that Facebook users who reported feeling more satisfied with their happy, healthy, stupid relationships were more likely to post happy, healthy, stupid statuses and posts about those relationships, like dummies in love will do.
11. Facebook makes you love talking about yourself.
Even though it also allegedly stresses you out, sharing news/thoughts/pieces of nothing information on Facebook gives you a rush: Researchers in a Harvard study found that “the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same sensation of pleasure in the brain that we get from eating food, getting money or having sex.”
Regarding that second one: Researchers found that the study’s subjects turned down actual money to talk about someone else in favor of talking about themselves for no monetary gain whatsoever. The prize for talking about some other boring person was $0.01-0.04, though, which I think even a study group of kindergarteners would refuse.
Graphics by Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed
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#5 seems improbable. I would imagine that people with social anxiety would be likely to put FEWER interests up, because they’d be too worried about what people would think of their interests. Also, I doubt that people who use Facebook are better at using computers. I think it’s more that people who use computers are more likely to use Facebook. Trust me, I know plenty of people who can only do three things with a computer: 1. turn it on, 2. check email, and 3. use Facebook. But I don’t know anyone who is proficient with computers and doesn’t use Facebook.
That’s exactly WHY they put up more interests. They are terrified of how they’ll appear to their current (and future) FB Friends, so they click the like button even on pages for movies they only saw once, two decades ago. It’s about building up the “cred” to attempt to impress these people in our social circles.
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