A Real Simple Guide to Social Media Sites
Although 91 percent of respondents said that social media made them feel more connected, only 29 percent said that it made them happier. Many admitted to having self-destructive habits, like gawking at people from the past (83 percent) and comparing themselves to others (76 percent).
If you’re obsessing over your old boyfriend’s perfect new life, consider this: Online “everyone is putting forth an ideal self,” says Turkle. That’s why you’ll see plenty of vacation photos and few of the weekend that the sump pump broke.
Also, humans aren’t good at determining how happy other people are. According to a study published last year in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (led by a Stanford University Ph.D. student whose friends were bummed-out by Facebook), subjects assumed that their peers were having fewer negative experiences and more fun than they were actually having. And the more the subjects underestimated others’ negative emotions, the lonelier the subjects felt. Something to think about the next time you log on with a glass of wine.