RUSH: I want to start out with a See, I Told You So. This is from CBS Eyeball News Philadelphia, KYW-TV. It’s a study out there, and it predicts a decline in happiness among people who use Facebook. But this could be any social media. This is not meant to focus on Facebook, although this study did. But I think it runs the gamut.
“A new study shows that Facebook may help people feel connected, but it doesnÂ’t make them any happier. In fact, according to the research, which was conducted by the University of Michigan, Facebook use actually predicts a decline in a personÂ’s well-being.
“The study used 82 young adults, all of whom had smartphones and Facebook accounts. The researchers then used experience-sampling to measure how the users think, felt and behaved by texting them at random times five days a week for two weeks. Each text contained a link to an online survey with five questions, including how the Facebook user felt at that moment, how worried he/she was and how lonely the user felt at that time. The study concluded that the more the subjects used Facebook during one time period, the worse they felt.”
Exactly right! This is a See, I Told You So moment. And you know why? You remember why? Because everybody lies about what they’re doing and how much fun they’re having and where they are and where they’ve been and where they’re going. People log onto Facebook and they read about all these places people are and things people are doing, and they’re missing out, feeling left out. All this stuff is going on out there, but it’s not happening to them. And they start wondering, “What’s wrong with me?”
See, you know, we never really get out of high school. This is nothing more than not being in the big clique. When you’re not in the big clique, you think you’re missing out on everything. You’re not with the cool people. You’re not with the hipsters. Well, there may not be any real big clique on Facebook, but the fact that everybody lies about what they’re doing, everybody tells you in high school, they didn’t study, when they were. Everybody tells you they were out partying, when they weren’t. Everybody told you how many women they were with, when they weren’t. It never changes, and on Facebook with relative anonymity.
This stuff has bothered me for a while. I don’t want to make too big a deal of it, but it falls under the umbrella of my desire for a healthy, productive, content, positive, happy country. And there are just countless assaults on people, more than ever. I’m not suggesting anything change. I’m not an old fuddy-duddy, can’t put anything back in the bottle. All I’m suggesting is that, just like anything else in your life, believe very little of what you hear and half of what you see. But this was a no-brainer. And now they’ve actually confirmed it in this University of Michigan study.
“Additionally, researchers had the test subjects rate their level of life satisfaction at the start and end of the study. They found that the more participants used Facebook over the research period, the more their life satisfaction levels decreased.” Now, why would that be? I mean, here people have increased connectivity, supposedly talking to more people, supposedly more in touch with things. And it’s just the exact opposite of what the conventional wisdom would be if there is a more connected population, more aware.
It’s the exact opposite. Insecurity is on the rise. Feelings of inadequacy and incompetence, on the rise. The feeling that everybody else out there is having a good time, and I’m not. What am I missing out on? And the sad thing about that is that the more you expose yourself to that, some people, the more they want to expose themselves to it. It’s just an amazing thing out there.