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February 24, 2014

My love affair, and break-up, with Facebook


The subsequent gain in reputation that occurs is addicting and something the researchers dubbed “Facebook fame.” When a participant saw another person receiving positive feedback on Facebook, he or she did not show nearly as much brain activity in this area. The more Facebook fame a person received, the more he or she logged on to the site.

The lead author of the study, Dar Meshi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Freie Universität in Germany, said it best:

“As human beings, we evolved to care about our reputation. In today’s world, one way we are able to manage our reputation is by using social media websites like Facebook.”

Facebook allows us to create a fake reality in which we perpetually look perfect (we can de-tag any pictures of ourselves we don’t like), have only the best of times (we usually only post about the most attractive and fun aspects of our lives), and have hundreds of friends. It’s all extremely superficial.

I don’t know about you, but I look horrible when I roll out of bed in the morning, I’m certainly not always a bundle of laughs and I probably have 10 friends I can really trust … certainly not 500. Facebook allows us to present an idealized version of ourselves to the world, which is, most often, not completely accurate.

In my research, I read about dozens of other studies done that show that Facebook use increases feelings of loneliness, jealousy, sadness and inadequacy, and even makes it harder to sleep or relax.

And get this.

A study published in the Psychological Science journal and led by Dr. Wilhelm Hofmann of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, found that resisting the urge to check social media websites such as Facebook is more difficult than turning down a drink. Alcohol and tobacco prompted much lower levels of desire among the 250 participants.

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