Study Finds Being Ignored on Facebook May Lower Self-Esteem

Social media promises to make people feel better about their lives and promotes the ability to connect with others and share wonderful moments.
Yet according to a new psychology report, when people are ignored on social sites, the rejection can have adverse affects.
The study, “Threats to belonging on Facebook: lurking and ostracism,” was published by Taylor and Francis Group, an academic book publishing house, and found that if no one “likes” a person’s post on Facebook, that lack of interaction can lead that person to have a lower self-esteem. The research was led by a team from the psychology school at the University of Queensland in Australia.
Dozens of studies over the past several years have explored social interactions online. But few have looked at what it’s like to simply be ignored.
Dr. Stephanie Tobin, a Queensland lecturer, and her research team performed two main tests to determine how social sites affect people’s happiness.
During the first study, the researchers took a group of Facebook users who post items frequently. While being monitored, half of the people in the group were told to remain active on Facebook, posting, sharing and chatting away.
The other half of the group were told to be passive on Facebook — not posting, sharing and chatting — rather just observing their friends who were still active on the site.
At the end of the first study the people who had not posted on Facebook for two days said the experience had a negative affect on their personal well-being.
In the second study held by the Queensland researchers, a group of people were given access to anonymous Facebook accounts and were told to post and comment on other people’s Facebook pages as they normally would. Half of this group had no idea that they would not receive any feedback from their interactions on the social site.
In both instances, the participants in this second study were mostly ignored. When asked by researchers how that felt, the participants said they felt “invisible.” Some went as far as saying they felt less important as individuals and had a lower self-esteem after the experience.
That’s a pretty harsh response from a place that’s supposed to make us all feel warm and fuzzy.
As Science Daily noted last week in a synopsis of the report, ”the researchers concluded that active participation on Facebook was key in producing a sense of belonging among social media users.”
Courtesy: New York Times
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