A new study conducted by 2 German universities has found that envy is rampant on Facebook. Researchers from Humboldt University in Berlin and Technical University in Darmstadt conducted the study which found that seeing friends’ vacations, love lives and work achievements caused envy and often triggered feelings of lonesomeness and misery.
The research discovered that as many as 1 in 3 people felt worse after visiting the site and experienced feelings of dissatisfaction in their own lives because of it. Those found to be most affected were the people who browsed the site without contributing (often referred to as “lurkers” in slang terms).
Hanna Krasnova, a researcher from the Institute of Information Systems at Humboldt University said:
“We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook, with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry…From our observations, some of these people will then leave Facebook or at least reduce their use of the site.”
The study showed that the biggest source of resentment were vacation photographs, which were responsible for triggering more than half of the envy incidents that were recorded.
The second biggest cause of envy was social interaction. Some users would compare how many “Likes”, comments, posts and birthday greetings that others would receive and if this exceeded their own then feelings of envy would be triggered.
In the report that was released on Tuesdays, the researchers stated:
“The spread and ubiquitous presence of envy on Social Networking Sites is shown to undermine users’ life satisfaction.”
The findings of this study will no doubt fuel the theory that Facebook, the largest of all social networking sites with more than 1 billion users, could reach a saturation point in some markets.
I’m not sure what I think about this study, but I do reckon that envy is a human emotion, one that is present IRL so it kinda makes sense that it would also rear its ugly head on our social networking sites. I think it’s normal to feel the nagging of the green eyed monster every now and then, after all – nobody’s life is perfect!
However I also think that if you are the kind of person that really lets it get to you on Facebook, then it’s probably going to affect you just as much when you’re walking down the street! Ok, so maybe you won’t have people’s holiday snaps shoved into your face in the office or down the pub like you would on Facebook, but I think if you are dissatisfied with your life then it’s easy to look around and feel envious of all those who seem to be in a better position than you.
What do you think about this study? Do you experience feelings of envy after you’ve been on Facebook? Leave a comment and let us know.