“Facebook Feelings” – My CNU Captain’s Log Newspaper Article #2

View Original: http://www.thecaptainslog.org/2011/10/05/facebook-feelings/

Be honest: How many times have you logged into a computer and subconsciously, within seconds, logged into Facebook? You are not alone. Sometimes you just can’t escape a bad day. They can leave you in a cloudy headspace with seemingly no escape. Often you have no choice but to suck it up because you’re so busy or are unsuccessful in finding a good person to vent to. Where do you turn? Where does the help come from? A new study from Cornell University suggests that Facebook (and other social media sites) may be the answer.

In this study, researchers conducted an experiment that analyzed three. One group was allowed to stare at a blank computer screen, a second viewed a screen with a built-in mirror. The third group was allowed to peruse their Facebook profiles. In a self-esteem test proctored by researchers, the third group appeared to have a greater deal of self-esteem based on an analysis of their answers/responses. But why?

Networking sites are generally a world of pure social interaction, which is a defining characteristic of society and the human race. Social interaction is needed for personal development and self-actualization. “We cannot be a whole human being by ourselves.,” said Executive Director of Counseling Services Bill Ritchie. Users of social media often create profiles that symbolize an “ideal identity.” These virtual personas highlight the brightest features of an individual and creating them can be therapeutic, while viewing that identity creates a positive reflection that can increase happiness. In addition, the stream of insightful, witty statuses and tagged first-person perspective photos in News Feeds create virtual experience. Use of the “Like” button to indicate approval of statuses and media posts acting as displays of the most basic components of human needs: affirmation—people need to feel that they belong and are accepted

(Flohuels/Wikimedia Commons)

While many CNU students agree that Facebook provides a bit of a mood elevator, there are also many who disagree.

“At times it can be hard… when someone is having a bad day and they see everyone else is posting about how amazing everything is for them. It can be a little frustrating,” said Junior Technical Theatre major Allison Polansky. This seems to hold true especially in the arena of academia and grading. Users often employ social media to proclaim their academic achievement, project procrastination and occasional failure.

“You can always tell when a big project is due in one of my classes because everyone is on Facebook posting about in instead of working on it at 4 a.m.,” said Polansky.

As a whole we must recognize the polarity of Facebook and other social media. While we have seen it through some dark times it has also spurred some supportive, philanthropic efforts.  It’s all in how you choose to use it. The key words being “you” and “choose.” Social media will never be the answer or complete substitute of true human interaction. We must understand the benefits and disadvantages between the real and mediated worlds allowing them both to evenly shape our perspective and identity. But next time you’re feeling down, don’t be afraid to reach out to Facebook and a good friend as well.

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