by Graham Pierrepoint
There’s been a lot of discussion in recent years over just how much social media can affect our mental wellbeing. Some studies have analysed exactly how we feel when we see our friends and family posting happy times on our walls – do we submit to feelings of jealousy? Are we inspired to show off more or to compare with others? Comparing and, to an extent, showing off, are fairly human traits – and it seems services like Facebook really allow us to facilitate these facets by enabling us to share our lives in minute detail, along with analyzing and comparing with others. While many of us have a healthy view on social media and try not to succumb to life comparison, many more of us struggle on a daily basis – it is something of an addiction for some people!
It’s become highly addictive for many Facebook users to hunt for likes – getting a like, a love, a wow or a haha reaction on your post is something of a buzz – and, for many, it’s thought to be a way to cheer ourselves up. However, according to a recent study, the amount of Facebook likes you receive on your photos, life events or other matters really won’t have that much of an effect on your overall happiness – if at all!
A questionnaire undertaken with over 300 people across social media has recently discovered that most people receiving likes didn’t notice an elevation in mood were they to be feeling unhappy – and that low self-esteem was fairly prevalent in those people who sought out likes and reactions. This interesting cross-section report appears to suggest that the happiness we seek from Facebook and Twitter may only ever be short-lived – and, at that, it is fairly artificial. Certainly, social media has become the go-to platform for people to share their news and their daily lives – which, sadly, has arguably given way for some evidence of validation-seeking by many who log in on a daily basis.
It can hardly be denied that a positive reaction to a post feels good – that’s what they are therefore, after all! This study, however, seems to suggest that – deep down – we seem to know that this type of point-scoring and validation is artificial, and that it has nothing on the real things that make us happy. The key to happiness may be relative – and may even be hard to find – but, if this study is anything to go by, it seems getting likes has little to do with it.