Ten New Scientific Findings About Facebook

Facebook might increase dissatisfaction with your life. The authors of one study text-messaged people five times per day for two weeks and asked people about their Facebook use and their well-being. The more people used Facebook at one time, the worse they felt the next time they were text-messaged. In addition, over the two weeks of the study, the more people used Facebook, the more their life satisfaction decreased.

Facebook can also make you look narcissistic. Another personality trait that is frequently associated with social media is narcissism. In a study where people rated the profiles of strangers, researchers found certain elements of a profile that contributed to impressions of narcissism. For example, the more attractive people were in their profile photos, the more others rated them as narcissistic. In addition, the more social interactions (measured as number of friends and wall posts) people had on Facebook, the more others rated them as narcissistic.

Too much negativity can hurt your social standing. Although people with low self-esteem are often hesitant to disclose information about themselves to others and thereby form social bonds, research suggests they see Facebook as a safe and desirable outlet for disclosure. Unfortunately, though, low-self esteem people tend to post updates that are more negative than people high in self-esteem. This type of disclosure then backfires—instead of creating social connections, it causes other individuals to like them less.

Comparisons with friends hurt happiness. A Facebook friend may not always be a friend you have met in person. In addition to the privacy and safety concerns this raises,research suggests this may also affect how we see ourselves in comparison to others. Spending time on Facebook can be associated with thinking that other people are living happier and better lives you, and this is especially true for those who include people they have not met personally among their Facebook friends.