Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Need A Boost? Log On!

Social Networking is Good for Us?

Every now and then, say the middle of February or when I'm thinking about what happens when blue turns to red, I get a little bit (oops--red) here in Titletown. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get a quick pick-me-up other than caffeine, comfort food, or digging the dog up and kicking him around: Facebook. At least that's what Jeffrey Hancock, and other researchers at Cornell University, tell me.
In a study presented in the February 24 issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking (yes, there is such a journal, and it is peer-reviewed as well!) Hancock details a study done with 63 student respondents which "proved" that Facebook can be a positive mood-altering experience. The reason, according to Hancock, that logging on to Facebook provides users a quick ego boost is that doing so provides a positive version of ourselves. After all, our "friends" are saying nice things, and the pictures we provide show us in a more flattering way than does, say, a mirror, which shows us as we really are: definitely not matching the ideal self that we have in our heads. Hancock claims this is merely a more positive version, not a deception. Maybe this is merely semantics...maybe not.
Anyway, the 63 subjects were placed in front of a computer featuring their Facebook page, a blank screen, or a mirror. After three minutes, the subjects were asked a series of questions that measured their mood. By far, the students with the highest positive mood change were the ones who spent the time on Facebook...and those who changed their profiles in the meantime scored even higher than the rest of the Facebook viewers.
Naysayers, and there will be some, will attest to the addictive nature of Facebook and social media in general, but so far, this is the only study that seems to indicate scientifically that some networking can be a good thing.
And you wondered what college professors did when they weren't teaching their five classes per week!


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