The Curse of Online Friends: The Detrimental Effects of Online Social Network Usage on Well-Being
21 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2013
Date Written: July 1, 2013
In the pursuit of happiness, it has been conventionally accepted that more friends would bring us a better quality of life. However, with the advent of social networking sites, unprecedented social influence has pervaded our daily lives. Across two studies we show that even though people feel more satisfied with their lives when they view the friends added on Facebook, reading friends’ posts reduces their well-being. This is because the more friends people have on Facebook, the more ostentatious information they see. The resultant drop in life satisfaction occurs because people fail to draw a connection between the number of friends and the amount of ostentatious information. Moreover, this decrease in life satisfaction is mediated by envy. We contribute to the literature on consumer well-being by identifying a novel and ubiquitous phenomenon of making social comparisons with hundreds of people, a phenomenon that arose with the advent of social networking and was previously outside the scope of social comparison literature.
Keywords: subjective well-being, social networking sites, Facebook, envy, social-comparison
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