To some reading this blog, this might not be a shock. To others, however, this could be a revelation. Facebook is bad for you!
A recent study published by the Harvard Business Review took a sample size of 5,208 adults and they determined that there is a direct correlation between the amount of time a person spends on Facebook and that person’s well-being. This is counter to previous studies which showed that you could spend as much time on Facebook as you wanted, as long as it was “quality” time.
The activities observed in this study were simply liking of posts, clicking links, and creating your own posts. The measures for the study included self-reported life satisfaction, physical and mental health, and Body Mass Index (BMI). The fascinating thing about this study is that it took place over a period of two years! They found consistently that both liking others’ content and clicking links caused a significant reduction in self-reported physical and mental health, and life satisfaction.
Why do we continue to use this social network if it makes us feel worse about ourselves?
The answer is in the science of the brain. We trick ourselves into thinking that Facebook is meaningful social interaction, when it isn’t. According to podcaster and life-hacker Tim Ferris, “It's like a heroin addict who needs methadone”. Ferris suggests that his readers and listeners participate in social media fasts at least once a week. “It is incredible what a psychological relief it is and how much recovery it allows people to have,” said Ferris. That advice is coming from a guy who makes a large portion of his paycheck from social media! He benefits directly from users scrolling their timelines and even he is advising against spending as much time on social as we do.
Give it a shot this Easter weekend. Try a “Screen-free Saturday” as Ferris calls it, or spend the entire weekend interacting with your family or doing something that brings you more joy, not less.