I recently came across a thesis paper regarding facebook that I found very interesting. It’s by Margie Neely-Veritas, a licensed clinical psycho/social actualizer, acclaimed advice columnist, certified libation consultant and cat behaviorist. Its title: “Facebook as a Mythological Genesis for Narcissism and Unwarranted Optimism: Distorted User World View.”
Margie states that facebook users have experienced an average 73 1/2% increase in feelings of self-esteem, optimism and community support compared with baseline self assessment at the beginning of her ten-year study. She theorizes that the easy access to photo shopping tools, the practiced, flattering angles of selfies and the rampant use of selfie-sticks has greatly inflated positive feedback and distorted realistic self-analysis.
Although facebook users self reported a great increase in their “friends” over the study period, there was an actual 43% decline in statistically verifiable friends. For this study, “friends” are defined as living humans that meet face to face at least once per year with no internet device employment or web assistance. If the use of cell phones and picture-taking apps are also disqualified, the rate of friendship drops an alarming 82%.
Although Margie was unable to statistically document a correlation between feelings of optimism and the encouraging, happy platitudes found on facebook, she did discover facebook users were 27% more optimistic than non facebook users (generally described as anyone under 30). Even when facebook users were presented with documents verifying that things will actually not get better, and if it hasn’t happened yet, it probably isn’t going to happen, the subjects still held tight to their unwavering belief that their personal lives, health and wealth would somehow improve. A shocking 13% of subjects believed sharing pictures of money would actually somehow provide financial gain.
Margie concludes that facebook, like Prozac, is making the world seem rosier. She does not assert if this is, in actuality, a societal benefit.