Is Facebook envy making people miserable?

http://news.yahoo.com/facebook-envy-making-miserable-154820957–finance.html

This article discusses that Facebook causes feelings of envy, misery and loneliness according to a study conducted by German researchers. On one hand, the rampant spread of envy and jealousy on Facebook causes some of the users to leave or at least reduce their use of the site. On the other hand, some of the users choose to boast more about their achievements in order to protect their ego.

After reading the article, I immediately thought of my best friend, who recently posted pictures of her luxurious cosmetics on Renren (Chinese version of Facebook). I felt surprised when I saw her pictures, because she is pretty low-key and usually does not brag about her wealth. I commented on her pictures and said “This doesn’t seem like your style.” Then, she told me the reason she did it.  It turns out that a girl she doesn’t like always posts pictures of the things she buys as a means of showing off.  My friend felt that she was being challenged and wanted to show the other girl that she can beat her in spending on luxury brand products if she wanted.  From where I stand, although her motives were kind of childish, I do understand her. However, what I could not understand is that according to the article, researchers found vacation photos were the biggest cause of peer resentment. From my perspective, I think it is nice to see pictures of places I have never been to.

So when I looked at another friend’s wedding pictures this morning,  I felt happy for her, but at the same time I could not help but wonder what others were feeling and thinking while looking at the exact same pictures.

My questions to the class are:

1. If social websites such as Facebook, or Renren, platforms that are suppose to share happiness among friends become sources of negative emotions, can those negative thoughts endanger the platforms’ sustainability?

2. How about your experience while using these platforms?

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One thought on “Is Facebook envy making people miserable?

  1. Actually I think to meet people ‘s desire to show off and compete to get others’ attention as much as possible is just the basic idea of how most social media websites attract users and keep them. Also I think it depends on different people. Those who easily envy others on the internet will also behave the same off line. But it is also true that because of the effectiveness of social media in connecting people and communicating information, the chances of getting information that might make people feel uncomfortable are growing, however, I don’t think this will be a such serious problem that will affect the sustainability of social media.

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