First there were the studies that said that Facebook makes us frustrated, envious, and filled with misery. Then there was the study that said, oh wait, never mind, Facebook totally makes you HAPPY! -- as long you look at your own profile, that is. Now there's new research that says if you're "emotionally connected" to Facebook, you're basically a ball of anxiety who, statistically, probably drinks too much.
But the good news is that while you may be a nervous drunk, at least you're not lonely. Because of all your anxious, alcohol-abusing Facebook friends, of course!
A doctoral student from the Missouri School of Journalism named Russell Clayton conducted a study in which he asked students about their "perceived levels of loneliness, anxiousness, alcohol use, and marijuana use" as well as their level of Facebook engagement. What he discovered was that out of the 225 college freshman he surveyed, students who were the most engaged with Facebook also tended to report higher levels of anxiety and greater alcohol use.
People who perceive themselves to be anxious are more likely to want to meet and connect with people online, as opposed to a more social, public setting. (And) when people who are emotionally connected to Facebook view pictures and statuses of their Facebook friends using alcohol, they are more motivated to engage in similar online behaviors in order to fit in socially.
As for marijuana, people who use it reported less Facebook connectedness -- maybe because they're too busy listening to Pink Floyd's "The Wall" while eating Cool Ranch Doritos ... or maybe because pot isn't considered as socially acceptable.
The folks who reported high levels of loneliness did use Facebook to connect with others, but weren't as emotionally connected to it.
Interesting, right? On the one hand, we've got anxious people attempting to treat their anxiety by logging into Facebook (and possibly making things worse, as evidenced by this 2012 study that says social media actually causes anxiety), and on the other, we've got people possibly drinking more as the result of their Facebook feed. And everyone knows being hungover makes you anxious, so ... OMG VICIOUS CYCLE OF DOOOOOOM.
With all these increasingly negative studies on Facebook use, it seems like it may only be a matter of time before it becomes a controlled substance, regulated by the DEA. In fact, everyone who's thinking of doing any future research about the effects of social media should just release this video, with "Facebook" dubbed over in the appropriate spots:
Facebook's bad, mmkay? So clearly the only answer is to smoke more pot. (What?)
What do you think of this latest information on Facebook use?
Image via kallebo/Flickr