Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable

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IT is now official. Scholars have analyzed the data and confirmed what we already knew in our hearts. Social media is making us miserable.

We are all dimly aware that everybody else can’t possibly be as successful, rich, attractive, relaxed, intellectual and joyous as they appear to be on Facebook. Yet we can’t help comparing our inner lives with the curated lives of our friends.

Revealed: the more time that children chat on social media, the less happy they feel

Researchers have found that the more time children spend chatting online, the less happy they feel about their life overall.

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Perhaps Facebook should carry a health warning. A study has revealed that the children who spend more time on online social networks feel less happy in almost all aspects of their lives.

The research by a team of economists at the University of Sheffield, to be presented at this week’s Royal Economic Society annual conference in Bristol, shows that the more time children spend chatting on Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram, the less happy they feel about their school work, the school they attend, their appearance, their family and their life overall. However, they do feel happier about their friendships.

Economists found that spending just one hour a day on social networks reduces the probability of a child being completely happy with his or her life overall by around 14%. They found that this was three times as high as the estimated adverse effect on wellbeing of being in a single-parent household – and larger than the effect of playing truant.

Depressed by Politics? Just Let Go

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The unhappiness results speak for themselves. A friend of mine — a well-known journalist with a large social media following — once confided in me that there is little that brings him more anxiety than checking his Twitter feed. As he clicks on his notifications, he can feel his chest tighten. Maybe you can relate to this.

So what is the solution? First, find a way to bring politics more into your sphere of influence so it no longer qualifies as an external locus of control. Simply clicking through angry political Facebook posts by people with whom you already agree will most likely worsen your mood and help no one. Instead, get involved in a tangible way — volunteering, donating money or even running for office. This transforms you from victim of political circumstance to problem solver.

Second, pay less attention to politics as entertainment. Read the news once a day, as opposed to hitting your Twitter feed 50 times a day like a chimp in a 1950s experiment on the self-administration of cocaine. Will you get the very latest goings on in Washington in real time? No. Will that make you a more boring person? No. Trust me here — you will be less boring to others. But more important, you will become happier.

So go ahead, let go of the tree.

Lonely and envious in real life? You’ll feel the same on Facebook

A 17 year old teenage girl on her Apple laptop computer in her bedroom at night, checking her Facebook page and sending messages to her friends, UK<br>FDB0JA A 17 year old teenage girl on her Apple laptop computer in her bedroom at night, checking her Facebook page

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It turns out that staying away from Facebook for a bit could be good for you. Known by anyone who is actually honest with themselves, that piece of obviousness is now backed up by academics: experts – boo, hiss! – from the University of Copenhagen. The publication of The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Wellbeing makes it scientific fact now: social media sucks for you.

But you knew that. Facebook is, and always has been at heart, a party made up of people you don’t really like who all have better lives than you, and you’re the prat who walked through the door to hear about it. Everyone else’s holidays are more exciting than yours, their relationships happier, and their jobs way more impressive than the crap you’re dragging yourself through every day to scrape enough money together for Super Noodles. Because you can’t really cook, either. They can all cook.

 

Stephen Colbert Staffer Creates #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 Social Media Hashtag, Results Are Adorable

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“I am not sure if there is anything I could say that would approach the enormity and complexity of the multiple tragedies that happened last week, so I’m not going to try right now,” Colbert told his audience. “But if you would like to see something beautiful, one of our social media producers, Heben Nigatu, started a social media hashtag, #CarefreeBlackKids2k16. It is really great. They’re really beautiful, and it will make you smile to see these children happy.”

Study Finds Londoners Take the Most Miserable Selfies

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The Big Bang Data Exhibition, a new project from selfiecity, collected selfies from Bangkok, London, Berlin, Moscow, New York and Sao Paulo. A team of media researchers, data scientists and information designers then used the images in order to compare and contrast a bunch of interesting things, like emotional expression, physical poses, gender and different age ranges.

The findings show that… London has an average of 0.55 on the happiness emotion scale (with 1 being the most happy) in comparison to the 0.62 average of other cities in the study.

 

 

This app helps you find and cheer up the saddest people on Twitter

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A lot of people are probably having a crappy day and are tweeting about just how horrible they are feeling… Using Twitter’s API and MetaMind’s sentiment analysis API, [CheerUpper] culls the social media platform for downer tweets. When you click on the “Cheer someone up!” button, you are given a random, sad tweet to respond to.

And here’s a radio excerpt (audio) about this phenomenon, which is where I first heard about this app.

Editorial note: We will be taking a short break from posting while your digital insights blogger takes some vacation days (so no CheerUppering needed here!). Back after the UK bank holiday weekend with more fun, fascinating content.