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Facebook Boosts Your Self-Esteem 139

Posted by samzenpus
from the friend-request-yourself dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Using Facebook can increase your self-esteem, according to a new study from Cornell University researchers, published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Researchers Amy Gonzales and Jeffrey Hancock conducted the experiment with three groups of 21 students each in the university's Social Media Lab. The first one was the control group, which sat in front of blank computer screens for three minutes. The second group of individuals had mirrors propped up against their computer monitors and spent their three minutes looking at their own reflections. The third group was allowed to surf their own Facebook profiles and its associated tabs for the allotted time. At the end, all three groups were given a self-esteem questionnaire."
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Facebook Boosts Your Self-Esteem

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    This blank comments page boosts my self esteem considerably.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You know what else boosts self esteem?

      A handjob.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        You mean self-stream
    • Actually maybe staring at a blank screen for more than a few seconds, or staring at yourself, lowers your self esteem. Maybe facebook is just the baseline.
      • I hate pseudo-science. It is the only thing I really agreed with any Scientologist on. (Tom Cruise on Psychiatry) In general, there is a lot of pseudo-science, and unfortunately it is not only in Psychiatry. Doctors are often wrong and don't do their patients justice, only wanting to give them a prescription as we've been conditioned to expect and get us on our way. If only the placebo effect actually could cure everything, and all these chemicals we're given didn't have such negative side effects.

        Either sc

    • Those who need to utilize Facebook to build self esteem need to arrange a therapy appointment with Doctor Ermey. [youtube.com]

    • by Meski (774546) *
      A blank page? Does it show an hourglass?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2011 @01:22PM (#35370472)

    They should have had a group surfing the web, but not using Facebook.

    • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @01:28PM (#35370546)

      Yeah this is a pretty unscientific study. Disappointing from Cornell.

      • Yeah this is a pretty unscientific study. Disappointing from Cornell.

        Come now, you're dissing this 'must read' journal [liebertpub.com]:

        The journal is a "must read" for psychologists; sociologists; designers and developers of internet technology, mobile devices, and online and virtual games; business executives; educators, and opinion leaders interested in the effects of interactive technologies. The journal’s expanded coverage explores the impact of Social networks, Internet, multi-media, and virtual reality on behavior and society.

        I mean, it was peer reviewed! Scientific Goodness! Truth, justice and the American Way! This will change everything! While not bothering to read TFA, I would wager there is a p value or two thrown about in an intellectual manner.

        /snark attack OFF

        Sounds like another publication to feed the ever expanding appetite for junk 'science'. Grr. I'm just going to crawl back in bed until it's time for my noonday meds.

        • Reading your quote, I'd say "cyberpsychology" is in need of a self esteem boost themselves.
          • by Cryacin (657549)
            They were sat in front of a blank screen. No wonder why they were depressed. They thought the computer had crashed, and they lost all the work they had done on their midterm! Hey, that's a whole 5 minutes of drinking there.
        • by NoEvidenZ (807374)

          The journal is a "must read" for psychologists; sociologists; designers and developers of internet technology, mobile devices, and online and virtual games; business executives; educators, and opinion leaders interested in the effects of interactive technologies. The journal’s expanded coverage explores the impact of Social networks, Internet, multi-media, and virtual reality on behavior and society.

          Have any tests been done to gauge the success of psychologists; sociologists; designers and developers of internet technology, mobile devices, and online and virtual games; business executives; educators, and opinion leaders interested in the effects of interactive technologies who haven't read the article? How do we know it's a must read?

    • by suso (153703) *

      Isn't this like finding a jury for the OJ Simpson trial?

    • by sorak (246725)

      I wish I had mod points. Staring at a blank surface for three minutes lowers self esteem. Staring at a mirror for three minutes lowers self esteem. I wonder how many of them spent three minutes thinking "how much am I paying to be at this school?"

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        I wish I had mod points. Staring at a blank surface for three minutes lowers self esteem.

        Staring at a mirror for three minutes lowers self esteem.

        I wonder how many of them spent three minutes thinking "how much am I paying to be at this school?"

        Speak for yourself Quasimodo.

        • by sorak (246725)

          I wish I had mod points. Staring at a blank surface for three minutes lowers self esteem.

          Staring at a mirror for three minutes lowers self esteem.

          I wonder how many of them spent three minutes thinking "how much am I paying to be at this school?"

          Speak for yourself Quasimodo.

          Nice contribution. I thought maybe you were a school-member who went into a jock-rage at the thought that I may be putting down your school, but your comment history shows that you just like being a douche.

    • Should have had someone in a room talking to friends also in the room as well. That would kill the other scores.

  • by michaelwv (1371157) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @01:23PM (#35370478)
    Doing something remotely productive increases your self-esteem.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Doing something remotely productive increases your self-esteem.

      So does posting on slashdot.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Doing something remotely productive increases your self-esteem.

      You call being on Facebook "remotely productive"?

      I'll bet everyone here on Slashdot one hundred billion dollars and personalized sharks with laser beams that this study will not be able to be reproduced.

      • by sarysa (1089739)
        Oh, it's easy to reproduce. It's just an incredibly bad study.

        I want to see a study of people in national parks vs. Facebook vs. MMO -- if we're lucky it'll give me hope for humanity.
    • by rdwulfe (890032)

      It becomes debatable whether "Facebook" can be classified as something productive, however... but I would agree with you. I cannot see how sitting, staring at a blank computer monitor is a good control. Perhaps browsing normal websites not pertaining to oneself, or reading email, would be a better control. You know. NORMAL activities.

    • by Asdanf (1281936)
      Or maybe "sitting and staring at a blank screen for 3 minutes because your professor told you to" decreases self-esteem.
      • by tehcyder (746570)
        If having to sit still and do nothing for 3 minutes causes you self esteem issues, you probably need some sort of counselling.
    • by theaveng (1243528)

      I've found Facebook has the opposite effect (lower self esteem).

      • by st0nes (1120305)

        I've found Facebook has the opposite effect (lower self esteem)

        Me too. My dog [facebook.com] has more friends than I do.

  • by tsa (15680) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @01:28PM (#35370544) Homepage

    I don't use Facebook. Obviously my self-esteem can not be boosted any higher.

    • by Rizimar (1986164)
      So what do you do all day, then? Stare at a blank monitor or something?
      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        He trolls slashdot all day, obviously...

        Well, that and downloading porn.
      • by tsa (15680)

        Of course not, silly. I stare at my reflection in the screen of my iMac and marvel at how cool I look and how good I am.

        • by Rizimar (1986164)
          I hope you never discover Facebook because if what this study is saying is true, you'd overload on positive self-esteem and your brain's hypothalamus may explode. Beware!
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        So what do you do all day, then? Stare at a blank monitor or something?

        Why, are you unable to not use facebook whenever you're at a computer?

    • I have a minimal Facebook account, whereas I spend much more time on LinkedIn. I really don't care about my friends' personal lives. I don't care if they like Charlie Sheen, and I don't care if their little baby is so cute. What I do care about is the following:

      • Where they went to grad school and got their PhD
      • Where they work
      • What kind of accomplishments they've had
      • How many patents they've been granted
      • etc.

      Basically, I want to know if they're worth my time. LinkedIn gives me that, and more.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2011 @01:50PM (#35370800)
        Your definition of "friend" is tragic.
      • Friends are interested in each others' personal lives, almost by definition. If you're not, I wouldn't call those your "friends", they're more like coworkers/peers. And how on earth would their education, workplace, accomplishments, etc. change on a regular enough basis to require any significant amount of time spent in keeping up-to-date on it?

        And once you've decided that someone is "worth your time", what then?

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Friends are interested in each others' personal lives, almost by definition. If you're not, I wouldn't call those your "friends", they're more like coworkers/peers. And how on earth would their education, workplace, accomplishments, etc. change on a regular enough basis to require any significant amount of time spent in keeping up-to-date on it?

          And once you've decided that someone is "worth your time", what then?

          He hunts them down and slaughters them mercilessly, like a sex panther.

      • Funny. I have a LinkedIn account I almost never use. Unless I plan on looking for a new job I really am not that concerned about some guy I worked with for 2 weeks 5 years ago.

        I do have friends all over the world, though, and it is often difficult to keep in touch with them. Facebook makes it infinitely easier. Sure people abuse it and post way more than anybody ever cares to see but it definitely has its worth, too.

      • That might be the saddest misconception of friend I've ever seen. I feel sorry for you, and even sorrier for them.

      • by gsslay (807818)

        Let me guess; you don't have many friends.

        But your reasoning is sound. Heaven forbid that you should find yourself wasting time on some sub-human plebeian without a PhD.

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        I have a linked in account and about 70 connections, but I can't imagine how I would actually spend TIME on Linked-in. I get an e-mail a couple of times a week about what is going on. That seems to be sufficient to keep updated on. Of course, I am not trying to keep tabs on friends on linked-in, just seeing what my associates are up to. I already know what my FRIENDS are up to because I talk to them.
      • by tehcyder (746570)
        You appear to be confusing the word "friend" with "work colleague".
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      Statistically speaking, 93% of those people studied should have been staring at a blank screen when staring at their facebook account, because 93% of the people in the world do not have a facebook account.
  • That research is flawed. It sounds like a high school project more than anything college related. This would be the equivalent of saying, we had a group that did not cross the street and one that crossed the street, therefore we conclude that people who cross the street will feel successful. The article doesn't even mention what they were asked afterwards, but hey, as the media have done in the past, if they say they have WMDs they have WMDs, screw the sources.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      , if they say they have WMDs they have WMDs, screw the sources.

      You do realize that Saddam regularly made public television broadcasts in Iraq saying he had WMD and threatening to use them if Iran attacked ... RIGHT?

      No? You didn't? Perhaps you should learn a little truth before making retarded assumptions and listening to random douche bags without a clue.

      • by sorak (246725)

        , if they say they have WMDs they have WMDs, screw the sources.

        You do realize that Saddam regularly made public television broadcasts in Iraq saying he had WMD and threatening to use them if Iran attacked ... RIGHT?

        Citation?

      • by Clsid (564627)
        And you are aware that the same Saddam destroyed his stockpile afterwards? Before insulting people just for having a different opinion than yours, I suggest you let your rage go down a little bit and read the Guardian article "Iraq war inquiry: Blair government 'massaged' Saddam Hussein WMD threat" http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jul/12/iraq-war-inquiry-saddam-carne-ross [guardian.co.uk]
  • Who gives a fuck? What esteem I hold myself in is nowhere near is pertinent as the esteem others hold me in. Being a self-involved twat engaging in pseudo-social activities on a social-networking website, where I present myself to the world in my best possible light (and often driveling endlessly about inane trivial personal thoughts and events in the hopes of getting "likes" and "fans" and "friends") is the equivalent of being a cup-stacking champion.

    Now, please mod this comment down so that no sense of hy

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by grub (11606)
      My my... sounds like someone's Farm was left alone too long and had crop failure...
    • If you have a high self esteem people will hold you in higher esteem. I am sure there have been more scientific studies on that. I am not saying to be conceited but having a positive self image is usually more attractive to people. It is actually healthier to not worry so much about what other people think about you and to not compare yourself to other people.

      • by Seumas (6865)

        Pseudo-self-esteem from pseudo-social activities is not "real". Nobody thinks better of you, because you spam your facebook page with really "confident" inane trivial crap. People react to a sense of self derived from merit. From accomplishment. From personality. They see through bullshit. Further, regardless of what they taught us in public school, what you think about yourself is almost entirely irrelevant. There is an endless supply of self-assured wastes of oxygen. I'd rather be judged on my merit and a

        • You misunderstand me on two points. First I wasn't trying to validate anything about Facebook or this study. I don't believe Facebook has anything to do with self-esteem.

          Second - I don't agree with the people who think self-confidence is going to save the world but I will tell you that sad saps who hate themselves aren't going to be making a whole lot of new friends. Nobody wants to hang around with Debbie Downer. And the people who have the lowest self esteem are usually too worried about thinking abou

        • Pseudo-self-esteem from pseudo-social activities is not "real". Nobody thinks better of you, because you spam your facebook page with really "confident" inane trivial crap. People react to a sense of self derived from merit. From accomplishment. From personality. They see through bullshit. Further, regardless of what they taught us in public school, what you think about yourself is almost entirely irrelevant. There is an endless supply of self-assured wastes of oxygen. I'd rather be judged on my merit and accomplishments and even personality than just looking in a mirror and telling myself "gosh darn it, I love myself!" and therefore deluding myself into believing that nothing else mattered but my own opinion of self. And chances are, if I accomplish those things, I *will* feel good about myself. And posting inane garbage on Facebook to rack up friend numbers or mingle with pretend-friends online is not accomplishing anything. It's the most empty form of self-esteem.

          I agree with you on pretty much every point. Real self esteem is based on merit and accomplishments, and without those anything you tell yourself or others is empty. The only counter-point I would make is that it's not a given that simply accomplishing things leads to feeling good about yourself; there are plenty of people who fail, for whatever reason, to acknowledge their own accomplishments and merits. Without that acknowledgement, the accomplishments aren't worth much in terms of self-esteem. And tho

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      So... what's your current rating on hot or not [hotornot.com]?
    • by Kosi (589267)

      What esteem I hold myself in is nowhere near is pertinent as the esteem others hold me in.

      Except for the fact that your self-esteem has a massive influence on how others look at you. Ever heard the question "How should anybody else like you, if you don't even like yourself?" It is also my personal experience that people who like themselves are very often more enjoyable to be around than those who don't.

  • Here's an example of one of the questions:

    Which of the following statements would you say describes you most accurately?

    • I have a lot of friends and can make good use of technology.
    • I'm the kind of person who is easily conned into doing absolutely worthless activities.
    • My teeth are stained and I need to go to the gym.
  • I know to get a PHD you have to have original work but this seems like stretching it a bit. What if the facebook page had negitive comments attached. I don't think they checked that one. What if the picture on Facebook was a bad hair day? So many variables so little time.

  • Sounds like a load of barnacles to me.

    Also, purely observational studies? Why would these be news? Ok, observations that confirm a theory, great. But just observations and nothing else? Get back to me when you have real data.

    Buh bye Karma, it was nice knowing you!

  • People like attention, so giving them more attention makes them happy. Oh wait, I guess adding "on Facebook" to the premise makes it different.

    • by RocketRay (13092)
      The way FB makes me feel better can be summed up with one word: schadenfreude.
      • The way FB makes me feel better can be summed up with one word: schadenfreude.

        Somehow I feel very happy when people with poor vocabulary do not understand that word. Wish I knew how to describe it.

        • by JWW (79176)

          Damn, I wish I had some mod points!!

        • by RocketRay (13092)

          Schadenfreude: joy at the misfortune of others.

          FB example: Catching up with the jock who bullied you in HS, him seeing how successful you are and what an abject failure he is.

          CHECK and MATE. :P

  • Flawed methodology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @01:37PM (#35370664)
    Of course those forced to stare at a blank screen had lower self esteem... they were thinking "Why the hell did I volunteer for this assinine study???" the whole time!
  • Well, I am. I'm surprised that those who spent the time staring into a mirror didn't have lowered self-esteem. Haven't we recently discussed cameras that make people better-looking because 90% of people don't like the way they look?

    Mind you, if you'd put me in this study I'd have had a cat-nap. It's amazing how much better that can make you feel about things.

    • by Kosi (589267)

      Haven't we recently discussed cameras that make people better-looking because 90% of people don't like the way they look?

      They don't like the way they look when pictured by bad photographers and/or shitty cameras.

  • What did they do before self-esteem was invented? Seriously. I've heard "low self esteem" described as a cause for everything from gang violence to sex addiction. AFAIK, self-esteem doesn't crop up very much before the 70s, right? What did they use before that, just good old-fashioned demons I guess.

    Has anybody done a study to test if FaceBook increases your chance of being posessed?

    • I've heard "low self esteem" described as a cause for everything from gang violence to sex addiction.

      You heard wrong! It's video games and pornography now!

    • Before self-esteem we had this thing called self-respect. The difference is that you have to earn respect, even if the person you're respecting is you. This was too hard for many people to understand and instead we moved to a system where everyone is expected to feel good about themselves regardless of whether or not they have anything to feel good about. Of course, this lowers self-expectations for those few who embrace it but more importantly it makes people who don't or can't embrace it feel like crap

      • by NoSig (1919688)
        The issue is that pessimism about yourself is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can't do something, you won't even try. Our information about what we can and cannot do is at all times very incomplete so we cannot ever know the full truth about what we can and cannot do. There often IS no rational way to fill in the blanks. Low self esteem is making an arbitrary choice to limit yourself by filling in the blanks in a way that hinders your performance. You might as well make that arbitrary choice in
  • Talking about yourself in 3rd person, in a positive, organized way == vanity.

    What you can get with facebook, you can get with a mirror. Sort of the 1950's version of facebook.

  • by Saishuuheiki (1657565) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @02:02PM (#35370914)

    I think it's more probable that sitting there for 3 minutes and thinking about how you are wasting your life depresses people.

  • Who pays for this shit? Cornell? Seriously?

  • by shish (588640) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @02:05PM (#35370958) Homepage

    The first one was the control group, which sat in front of blank computer screens for three minutes.

    "I'm such a moron for volunteering for this boring study :-("

    The second group of individuals had mirrors propped up against their computer monitors and spent their three minutes looking at their own reflections.

    "I am here because I am too ugly to hang out with friends :-("

    The third group was allowed to surf their own Facebook profiles and its associated tabs for the allotted time.

    "Oh hey, something to distract me from the pain of my own existence :-|"

  • <sarcasm>

    The first one was the control group, which sat in front of blank computer screens for three minutes.
    Three minutes — of emptiness.

    The second group of individuals had mirrors propped up against their computer monitors and spent their three minutes looking at their own reflections.
    Three minutes — of a reflection of emptiness.

    The third group was allowed to surf their own Facebook profiles and its associated tabs for the allotted time.
    Three minutes — of an inverted ref

  • This is only true for people who actually care about such 'petty' things.

  • If you post something and a bunch of people like it or comment positively on it, of course that's going to boost your self-esteem. It makes you feel popular. I imagine the opposite to be true, too. If your posts are frequently ignored, that would probably tend to diminish your self-esteem. Facebook is just a different interface for basic human interactions, so I doubt this would really surprise any sociologists.
  • This study only shows that Facebook Boosts Your Self-Esteem if all you ever do is stare at a mirror or a blank wall.....

    How about adding further control groups that:

    • Socialize in person.
    • Play outside.
    • Surf anything they want on the web.
    • Have sex.
    • Etc.

  • Come on. What exactly is three minutes of down time have to do with changing your self esteem? Self esteem can not be changed in three minutes,(except for the very very very remote possibility of hitting the lottery). Does spending ones whole life sitting in front of FaceBook worrying about how other people perceive you work to raise your self esteem? Probably not. If you care about 'their thoughts about you' that much you *need* a boost of self esteem. Do you think that if you were actually doing something
  • ...people who are forced to stare at them selves for three minutes have a lower self esteem than those who just reached out the world. Extremely doubtful the summary and/or the researchers are drawing the correct conclusion.

    What a surprise...someone who is forced to stare at themselves for three minutes becomes critically aware of their own flaws.

    slashdot sucks these days...

  • What nonsense. Doing something constructive increases self esteem. Getting laid increases self esteem. Getting a job increases self esteem. HAVING A LIFE AWAY FROM A COMPUTER will increase self esteem too.
  • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @03:34PM (#35371968)

    The methodology behind the research makes no sense, but look at the great headline they got out of it.

  • The fourth group of people were to spend 3 minutes looking at p0rn. They had to be excluded because at the end of the 3 minutes they just kept looking at the p0rn and did not fill out the self-esteem questionnaires.
  • If Face Book has a measurable change in self esteem. I can only imagine what Twitter does
  • In my case, surfing FB would probably have made me aggressive. Mainly because I don't have a Facebook account and would have been in the white screen group.

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