Written By: Jason Dorrier
Posted: 09/3/13 8:39 AM
A line from Max Ehrmann’s 1927 poem “Desiderata” reads:
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Social networking makes it easier than ever to compare yourself with others—but forget about vanity. It’s not uncommon to hear Facebookers complain many of their social contacts appear to be living vastly more interesting and fulfilling lives than they are.
So, has social networking created a billion bitter Facebookers? A team of University of Michigan researchers decided to move past the anecdotal and apply the scientific method to this bit of common wisdom.
Studying how Facebook affects people is a popular pastime. Researchers have penned some 412 papers since 2005. But the University of Michigan team found the results confused. Some studies noted Facebook use positively impacted well-being, others found a negative relation, and still others said the affect was nuanced and influenced by many variables.