Facebook Improves Self-Esteem; Study

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Results of a study conducted by Cornell University show that people go to Facebook to be reassured that people care about them.

Jeff Hancock, professor of communication and computer and information science at Cornell, said that despite the common knowledge that Facebook is just a waste of time that leads to many negative outcomes, the social networking site can also give a deep sense of happiness to users.

To summarize the experiment, 88 undergraduates were asked to give a short speech. After that, they were asked to go to Facebook and either spend time on the site looking at their own profiles or looking at other people’s profiles. Then, negative criticisms were given to the speeches made by the students.

The students who visited their own profiles were not as defensive about the negative criticisms to their speeches, compared to those who visited other people’s profiles.

Next, the undergraduates were given positive or negative criticisms regarding their speeches, which was followed by them being asked to browse any social networking website they choose. It turned out that those students who received negative comments were more likely to visit Facebook compared to those who were given positive remarks regarding their speeches.


Facebook improves self-esteem according to a study conducted in Cornell University. (Image: Scott Beale (CC) via Flickr)

Facebook improves self-esteem according to a study conducted in Cornell University. (Image: Scott Beale (CC) via Flickr)

Hancock added that Facebook was even more effective at making the students feel admirable compared to standard exercises that improved self-affirmation. As such, the research concluded that Facebook profiles give us a better feeling towards ourselves.

That may be due to the fact that in our Facebook profiles, we normally have a collection of people that we consider as our “friends.” Hancock said that Facebook makes us feel good because it is a place where our friends and family members are. That may be also due to our way of exhibiting ourselves on the site, curing our damaged self-images.

Well-being and health are foreseen by our relationships with friends and family. If our connections with these loved ones are better, studies show that we are more likely to have good eating habits, avoid smoking, have good study habits, and make better decisions. Facebook turns out to provide such good social connections.

Facebook allows us to be with people we like and like us back. So it seems natural to think that Facebook is indeed a place full of happiness. On the other hand, Facebook’s reputation is that it makes users jealous when they see their boastful friends post about their achievements. In addition, Facebook may be a place where people can engage in harmful gossip against you. Furthermore, Facebook allows us to know about the political or social viewpoints of our friends and family members which may not bode well with those of our own.

Facebook indeed has the potential to bring good and bad. The most popular social networking site allows us to easily contact our friends and family members, despite our own hectic schedule, and it also allows us to share important stuff to them. This research also shows that Facebook is a great place to go when you had a hard day’s work, because that’s where your friends are.


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Author: Neal Alfie Lasta

I enjoy learning and writing about social media and the latest in mobile updates. Don't forget to subscribe and receive our latest posts in your inbox.

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