Is Facebook Making You Depressed?

I can’t remember the last time I logged into Facebook and didn’t see at least one status update of “I love my life!” or pictures of happy smiling people on fabulous sunny vacations. Looks like everyone I know has a perfect life—must be nice! The truth of the matter is they don’t. Seeing these kinds of posts often enough though can lead to what is commonly being known as “Facebook depression.”

A recent study looked into this phenomenon. Questionnaires were given to 425 undergrad students, measuring how much time they spent on Facebook a week, how many friends they had and what they thought of their friends’ lives.

Despite knowing we all have good days and bad ones, it was found that the more time people spend on Facebook, the happier they thought their friends’ lives were. Surprised? I’m not.

When things are great and you’re happy, of course you want to tell the world. Facebook makes that very easy to do. Plus now that Facebook Timeline is finally available, it makes it even easier to go back in time to delete any of those “woe is me” status updates or not so flattering photos you had posted. You can even replace them with new and improved versions if you’re so inclined (or have the time—your call).

You take the good, remove the bad, without them both, what do you have? Well, not the story of your life. Instead a profile filled with unicorns and bliss. Is anyone on Facebook depressed? Of course they are silly.

In fact a good number of the happy, fairy tale profiles out there are people trying to hide their misery. The happier they appear, the more miserable they are. Not always, but it happens. Either that or a lack of status updates from people who regularly post could also mean things in their life have gone sour. Doesn’t sound like happily ever after anymore, does it?

Now when you “read the story of someone’s life” (or creep their profile—whatever you want to call it), remember that things may not always be as they seem. Don’t feel bad about it, don’t feel blue. Your life is just as good as theirs. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face just update your status about how much you love your life (ILML!). No one will be the wiser!

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.