Facebook envy is a hidden threat to life satisfaction

Social networking has its downsides. I suspect that all enhanced networking for the many will always lead to new stresses and some form of negative behaviour for a few.

The results of a German study of Facebook users is to be presented at an international conference next month:

11th International Conference on Wirtschaftsinformatik

Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction? by Hanna Krasnova, Helena Wenninger, Thomas Widjaja  and Peter Buxmann

A pdf version of the report is available here: Facebook Envy

cbronline.comAccording to a new German study of over 600 people, using Facebook could make its users feel envious of their successful friends. This result may lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

The joint research was conducted by Prof. Dr. Peter Buxmann from the Department of Information Systems of the TU Darmstadt and Dr. Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

The research, “Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction” revealed that over one-third of surveyed Facebook users reported negative feelings,including frustration, when using the site. Many said this was a cause of feeling envious towards their Facebook friends.

Hanna Krasnova said that although respondents were reluctant to admit feeling envious while on Facebook, they often presumed that envy can be the cause behind the frustration of ‘others’ on this platform — a clear indication that envy is an increasing phenomenon in the Facebook context. “Indeed, access to copious positive news and the profiles of seemingly successful ‘friends’ fosters social comparison that can readily provoke envy,” Krasnova said.

Medical Daily adds:

The study also found that people who use facebook to browse pictures, read wall posts or check newsfeeds are more likely to harbor negative feelings than people who actively participate on the networking platform.

Previous research has associated Facebook use with anxiety, debt and even higher weight. Whether or not Facebook increases depression is still open to debate. But almost everyone agrees that Facebook is addictive, and according to a study, sometimes even more than sex.

A recent study on facebook published in the journal Memory & Cognition had found that people are more likely to remember facebook status updates than lines from a book or even a person’s face. 

Researchers who conducted the present study also found that about a fifth of all events that lead to envy among people were somewhere within the context of facebook. Researchers call this phenomenon as the “envy spiral” where envy leads a person to change his or her profile which in turn leads “others” to be envious.

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