Ethan Kross, a faculty associate at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, and colleagues published a first of its kind analysis of the effects Facebook use has on people’s mood and sense of happiness in the Aug. 14, 2013, issue of the journal Public Library of Science.
The researchers found that the more a person uses Facebook over time the less happy they feel.
The conclusion was drawn from a questionnaire sent over smart phones to 82 young adults at random times five times a day for two weeks. Young adults are the core demographic of Facebook users.
The questions asked were:
1) How do you feel right now?
2) How worried are you right now?
3) How lonely do you feel right now?
4) How much have you used Facebook since the last time we asked?
5) How much have you interacted with other people "directly" since the last time we asked?
The researchers also found that the more people used Facebook over time the more they reported increasing lack of satisfaction with their lives.
The same participants reported increased happiness and satisfaction with their lives when they interacted directly with other people.
Facebook use was not a direct indicator of loneliness or happiness according to the researchers. The scientists intend to examine Facebook and other social networking sites in future experiments to determine other emotional effects involved with social media use.