The purpose of this study is to understand if Facebook users are affected emotionally from what is shown throughout their news feeds to define if there is a positive or negative impact on their well-being. The study seeks to answer the research question, “Do Facebook users’ have a psychological reaction that changes their well-being based off their news feed?” The methods to find the answer to my driving question will be to analyze academic journals that have found research about experiments pertaining Facebook users’ psyches.
Keywords: Well-being, emotions, influences.
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This study aimed to focus on the positive and negative psychological impacts that Facebook’s news feed effects their user’s well-being.
Social media has grown at a ridiculous rate over the last decade and is only going to continue to advance. As generations go by and people start to enjoy social media, a tunnel of emotions and activity start to fluctuate at a rate that one could have never imagined. Who knew how quick your day could slip right away from one if they are constantly watching vlogs, YouTube and Facebook videos? Time has gone by where less people are having physical interactions with people and confining themselves at home to be on their phones, televisions, or computers. No, people are not isolating themselves from other humans because they are simply not trying to be seen. Instead, this is due to technology continually adapting in order to ease networking of individuals by allowing efficient means of communication from anywhere, such as video chats or live interviews. Facebook is a prime example of where communication is being held with many people worldwide. There is a high rate of people who are lacking daily face-to-face communication and energy due to isolating themselves through ease of use of technology. (Drago, 2015).
Facebook has arisen to understand what happens psychologically to users’ when there is an increase or decrease of specific information shown over their news feed. The study was created by Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, to test this theory. This study was held without consent from Facebook users. Zuckerberg wanted to control the news feed based from an algorithm that filtered both positive and negative interests that the user would interact with. There are many situations that can be considered to depict the answer. The psychological impact that leads users into a higher rate of having depression, low self-esteem, or decline of their life satisfaction (Tromholt, 2016).
James Kite and three of his colleagues make the statement within their research about, “post characteristics and user engagement is measured by the number of likes, shares and comments on Facebook, a social networking platform, [which] is by far the most widely used social media.” The networking access that Facebook provides freely to individuals has taken a toll upon daily interactions. Individuals who carry face-to-face interactions have shown that they are more likely to experience higher positive psychological outcomes and lower negative outcomes. In the contrary, users who are not experiencing these interactions are prone to have poorer mental health. The unique connection that Facebook allows their users who feel uncomfortable in face-to-face situations are given the opportunity “to communicate with others within a more accessible social medium” that allows users to dominate over their personal presentation (Grieve, R., & Watkinson, J, 2016).
Research based on profiles who are receiving less likes than the average profile shows that there is a decrease in the user’s self-value on a psychological perspective (Kite, J., Foley, B. C., Grunseit, A. C., & Freeman, B. (2016)). Users are given the opportunity to be able to express the information for others to view their lifestyle through activities that they enjoy or photos capturing moments shared with others (Grieve, R., & Watkinson, J, 2016). Research that has taken place over the United States has also shown the decline within new members joining Facebook and oddly increasing within the engagement category by “70% of Facebook users engaging with the site at least once a day and 45% several times a day” (Kite, 2016).
The comparison from the specific amount of likes a user is looking to reach versus the confidence a profile can create to perceive a lifestyle to others is the leading cause of a user to have a lower self-evaluation perspective about themselves. As there are studies being conducted to prove that there is a drastic increase and decrease of rates correlating with Facebook user’s self-valuation level based on posts made and engagements within an individual’s profile. A user’s self-value level while using Facebook, within previous studies, can be shown by how frequently social media is being accessed that will affect a user’s feelings of envy (Chan, 2014).
After completion of my research, I learned that Facebook studies have shown an increase and decrease of a psychological impact on their users. To further this research, I would continue researching the algorithms that are made to filtrate the newsfeeds. Additionally, I would recommend making advertisements that inform users to be aware of the fact that what is being shown on their profile has specific intentions to impact the user on a psychological and emotional state.
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