Facebook Can Give You Confidence -- When It's Not Making You Depressed

girls on internetResearch about people's behavior online just came out, and the results are startlingly different from those that have been published in the past. The study, called "Are Close Friends the Enemy? Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control", concluded that spending time on social networks, such as Facebook, can actually give people confidence in real life. Crazy, right? It seems like every study we've ever heard about the Internet and social media -- is that it makes so many people depressed.

However, going off of what this study claims is the reason people gain confidence online, though, I'm convinced that how you use the Internet is what makes you confident or depressed.

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As we all know, people's "online persona" is often drastically different from their personality in real life. But, according to this study at least, people [who] present a positive self-view to others" online, gain an increase in self-esteem in their actual lives (and, randomly, a decrease in self-control, but that's a whole other post).

One of the researchers, Keith Wilcox, told The Wall Street Journal: "Think of it as a licensing effect: You feel good about yourself so you feel a sense of entitlement." Inneresting, right? And, I mean, it makes sense. There are those people who post 900 things on Facebook a day, garnering tons of "likes" and comments -- it's no wonder they feel good about themselves. They spend a lot of time online -- and the online community likes them. They're almost an Internet celebrity in their own right.

Conversely, there are the people who don't post a lot online. Just stalk. Or, worse, troll. They're either looking at everyone else's super awesome, majorly amazing lives (with envy), or they're saying mean things to others. And that doesn't make anyone feel intrinsically good, now does it?

Sort of puts a new light on things. How you use the Internet can affect your mood. Hmph. Maybe I'll start posting more on Facebook, in hopes of getting lots o' likes. Or maybe I'll just, you know, cut down on my online time altogether.

Does the Internet make you happy or depressed?


Image via whiteafrican/Flickr

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