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January 23, 2013

Facebook Raises the Green-Eyed Monster

Social media envy is alive and well, especially for Facebook users.

German researchers have discovered one in three people feel less satisfied with their lives after perusing Facebook.

Two studies, conducted jointly by two German universities, also revealed people who don’t post at all but read their friends’ posts are more prone to negative emotions.

“We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry,” researcher Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin’s Humboldt University told Reuters.

The most common cause of envy or bitterness? Vacation photos. Looking at holiday pictures, researchers found, caused more than half of all jealousy incidents.

Second on the envy list was social interaction. Users seeing friends receive more birthday wishes or more likes or comments on posts and photos also roused the green-eyed monster.

The report, ‘Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?’ also described users in their 30s as more prone to envy family happiness, while women were apt to resent physical attractiveness.

Feelings of envy drive male users to brag about accomplishments on the social networking site while women seem more compelled to put emphasis on their looks and social lives.

The findings may not bode well for Facebook,

“From a provider’s perspective, our findings signal that users frequently perceive Facebook as a stressful environment, which may, in the long-run, endanger platform sustainability,” the researchers concluded.

The findings were based on a survey of 600 people in Germany. The two studies are to be presented at a press conference next month.


4 Responses to “Facebook Raises the Green-Eyed Monster

    This is very thought provoking, but there will have to be a larger study group before anyone takes it seriously.

    social media has become a very important part of our life, nowadays i see even elderly people hooked to facebook. Therefore this study is not surprising to me.

    No surprise, the consequences of over-sharing. I suspect more Facebook-user actions not listed here are leading to the same emotions. I doubt if it actually will endanger long-run platform sustainability though.

    avatar David Sorensen says:

    This is exactly our experience and that of many others we have heard. Although Facebook can be good for some people, we find it can bring tremendous unrest and tension. It can cause a lot of relational stress. We have seen it destroy social lives instead of improve them. Logical: it has never been designed to improve social life but to bring in money for the designers.

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