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12 – Social Networks

Social Networks tend to be trouble. On the surface they seem like a great tool for communication and well being, but analyze them and you’ll see they do the opposite.

In a study eighty-two Facebook users were kept under observation for two weeks. Results showed Facebook was causing them to develop depressive feelings, and that they got worse the more time they spent on it. There were also feelings of isolation and jealousy when someone posted photos of positive or engaging activities. Another study in Sweden observed nearly a thousand users, and found that those who spent the most time on Facebook had far lower self-esteem than their peers.

Facebook is but one example. Instagram, Snapchat, reddit, Twitter, any social network can cause similar effects, even mild ones in moderation! While I’m not suggesting you quit these networks or delete your accounts (though you certainly will feel the difference if you do once you get past withdrawal), you certainly should look at your own time investment on them:

  • How long do you spend on these websites?
  • Do you have their apps installed on your phone? How often do you use them?
  • Analyze your own behavior; do you feel isolated, depressed, sad, or angry when you browse these networks?
  • When you’re idle and without anything to do, do you default to browsing these apps immediately?

The core idea of networks is to improve social connections, but remember you do not need them at the end of the day. If these pages are affecting you, change things.

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