Social media makes us unhappy.

In a less-than-scientific study of everyone I know, I’ve come to the conclusion that too much time on Facebook (or Instagram or Twitter) makes people miserable.

I’ve got plenty of anecdotal evidence on my side. After all, how many people do you know who have quit Facebook (then, predictably, come running right back)?

Basically, social media makes us feel like worthless pieces of crap. Of this, I’m convinced. Of course it has its benefits, but when overdone, it’s THE WORST.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Science agrees that social media makes us unhappy. A recent study out of Italy found “a significantly negative correlation between online networking and self-reported happiness.”

It boils down to this: there’s a strong correlation between individual happiness and social trust. Social trust is the assumption that strangers will behave in “safe” ways, IE, not belittle or abuse others. But social media breaks down the belief in social trust, mainly because people act like a**holes on the internet.

This, we know. Check out any online forum, internet news site or anything that enables commenting, and you’ll find that people’s reactions to opposing views are less than courteous. In real life, however, people are usually a little more polite. That’s why interacting with other people in person is almost ALWAYS more fulfilling than it is online. We’re social creatures. We were meant to interact human-to-human, face-to-face, but there’s less and less of that these days.

As the Telegraph reported:

“Online networks also are a fertile ground for spreading harmful, offensive, or controversial contents often lying at the verge between free speech and hate speech,” they said. This hateful content can reduce the reader’s trust in others, and therefore have a detrimental effect on their own wellbeing. “

Sad, isn’t it? This whole hiding-behind-our-keyboards thing is stealing happiness away from us. We need to put down our smartphones, turn our faces to the sun and TALK TO OUR FELLOW HUMANS.

Because, to reiterate the Telegraph’s headline: “Facebook Makes You Distrusting and Miserable.”


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4 Responses

  1. Virginia says:

    Just me again. Sorry. But I can’t NOT respond to your awesome posts. If I could tell you how much I enjoy reading them, in person…and give you a big fat hug, I would!

    I love that quote from Einstein. Is it legit? Hehe. But really. I was just having that conversation with my daughter. I was saying that I felt that all the screen time people are having is making them dumber. I don’t spend much time with all that. Or I do try to limit anyway. I suppose it’s all relative.

    Besides…I am pretty much an idiot without the extra help ;p


    • Hannah says:

      Awww, I would love a hug! Haha and good question re: the Einstein quote … it might not be. Lol. A lot of stuff is falsely attributed to him. Nonetheless, I love the sentiment. If he won’t take credit for saying it, I will! 😉

  2. Angie G. says:

    Hey Hannah! I’m a new reader to your blog and also a recovering depressive trying to find my path back to happy! 🙂
    I came to a similar conclusion just this past summer. Friends and family thought I’d gone crazy when I deleted my Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter with the realization that it was harming rather than helping my relationship not only with my others but with myself. These days I keep an email for professional reasons and a Facebook to keep in touch with friends who I’ve met on my travels, but I make a serious effort to limit my time on each.
    What I’ve realized is that social media, for the most part, is just a way for us to boost our own egos and self-esteem through likes, etc. I know I’ve felt the bleeding wound of not getting enough likes on last night’s sunset or an oh-so-glamorous selfie. Neither of which can be a healthy basis for self worth.
    On top of that, it devalues the time we actually spend “face-to-face” with our friends. I think we all know how it feels to be sitting in a restaurant trying to ask our friends about their lives and everybody’s face is hidden behind their phone screen. It’s uncomfortable and impersonal.

    Sorry for the novel, the TL;DR version- cutting back on social media has helped me to be more present in the lives of my loved ones. My personal relationships have never been better!

    • Hannah says:

      Hi Angie! What a terrific example of this principle in action. I was just discussing this with a dude last night at an event, particularly how social media’s insidious grip limits our face-to-face time. I love that your relationships have thrived in the wake of your decision! It’s really wise and courageous of you to have taken a step back from something that’s become such a societal norm. You rock!

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