The Other I

September 19, 2013

An unexpected downside

Last month I read about research suggesting that using Facebook seems to make people feel rather miserable.  It’s not that lonely and unhappy people use Facebook more than happy people do.  The research found that the more time volunteers spent on Facebook, the lower their self-esteem and feelings of worth and the higher their feelings of depression and loneliness.

Even more surprising was the discovery that spending the same amount of time socializing with people directly had exactly the opposite effect.

These results reflect the experiences of young people in their 20’s, who seem to compare themselves to the presentations of their friends on Facebook, and feel they don’t measure up.  What doesn’t occur to them is that these presentations may be a little overly idealistic with doctored photographs, clever answers and masterful achievements that weren’t exactly the way things happened in real life.

I wonder if these results would find something similar among older users.   My guess is that as we get older, we get a little less naive, a little less self-centered, a little more suspicious, and that that would make a difference to how we evaluate the Facebook presentations of others.

But I can’t really say for myself.  I didn’t like the experience at all, and deactivated my Facebook account.

On the other hand, there is also research showing that working at a computer for a couple of hours before bedtime is associated with sleeping difficulties.   I had already begun to discover that for myself.  It’s one of the reasons I’m not blogging as often as I used to.

I’m reading more at night, though.

I wonder why that isn’t interfering with my sleep.

Maybe I’d better not ask.

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