I feel like I've seen a million articles on how using Facebook is making us all depressed and jealous and lonely. I mean, we've all heard how we can get addicted to posting status updates to help us deal with feelings of isolation, and there have been countless studies linking Facebook use to low self-esteem, envy, and overall misery.
Well, if you're tired of hearing how Facebook is making you into a bitter, unhappy person convinced that everyone's life is better than your own, great news! It turns out that all you have to do to get happy is look at your own Facebook profile. Paradoxically, the same braggy, look-at-my-awesome-lifestyle! bullshit updates that bum you out when they come from other people can actually boost your mood when it's your OWN braggy bullshit!
This is according to yet another study on the social effects of Facebook, anyway. (Who's funding all these studies, is what I want to know.) Researchers have determined that since users typically post positive pictures and status updates, looking back over those photos and posts when you're feeling low can cheer you up.
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(I guess that's assuming your posts aren't all of the passive-aggressive/Vaguebooking complaint variety. Although maybe those can be fun to re-read too?)
So basically, there was this whole big study on how looking at other peoples' Facebook posts and photos makes us sad and jealous, because we feel inferior in the face of all those uplifting messages and happy photos. But now they're saying that looking at our OWN posts is comfortingly nostalgic, and can particularly help people who are depressed.
Doesn't it seem like Facebook is the new coffee? It's good for you! Wait, it's bad for you! It's good in small amounts! It'll kill you stone cold dead! It's good if you use it in this one specific way! ANY AMOUNT IS BAD OH MY GOD. Etc.
A doctor from University of Portsmouth's School of Computing says that of the 144 users she studied, almost 90 per cent of users access the site to look at their own wall posts:
We were very surprised by these findings, which contradict some recent reports. The results indicate we could use self-soothing as a form of treatment for low moods. Although this was only a small study, we will go on to study larger groups to see if the results remain consistent.
A psychologist from the same university said,
Facebook is marketed as a means of communicating with others, but this research shows we are more likely to use it to connect with our past selves, perhaps when our present selves need reassuring. The pictures we often post are reminders of a positive past event. When in the grips of a negative mood, it is too easy to forget how good we often feel, and our positive posts can remind us of this.
In conclusion: BRAG ALL YOU WANT, Facebookers, because it's good for you. Science says so! (For now, anyway.) And the next time you're feeling crappy, maybe try taking a stroll down social media memory lane to see if that reminds you of better times.
Do you ever look at your own Facebook history? Do you enjoy seeing old photos and posts?
Image via CollegeDegrees360/Flickr