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low self esteem
facebook friends
cornell university
negative comments
Is Facebook Helpful For People With Low Self Esteem?
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Is Facebook Helpful for People With Low Self Esteem?


Two different research studies within the past two years presented very different opinions about whether people with low self esteem should use Facebook. One study said Facebook is helpful, and another study said Facebook is harmful. Therefore, they gave very different responses to the following question: Is Facebook helpful for people with low self esteem? A study done at Cornell University concluded using Facebook to update personal information boosts self esteem. Another study done at the University of Waterloo said people with low self esteem did not benefit from using Facebook to update their personal information.

Effects of Updates on Facebook

According to the first study done at Cornell University by Gonzales & Hancock, Facebook is good for people with low self esteem. Their study, published in June 2010, “Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self Esteem: Mirror, mirror on my Facebook wall,” concluded people tended to present themselves in a positive way. Therefore, a person with low self esteem can look at their profile and boost self esteem by reading their posts and keeping them up-to-date.

According to a study done at University at Waterloo by Forest & Wood, Facebook was not helpful for people with low self esteem. In their public release from February 1, 2012, people with low self esteem often made negative comments on their profiles. Their real Facebook friends often did not comment on negative updates. However, they would comment on very positive updates.

Summary and Conclusion

Based on the research findings, Facebook could either help a person with low self esteem or make their problems worse. Based on these studies, people made choices as to whether to vent and write negative updates or whether they would make positive updates when things go well. The real Facebook friends, who know the person outside of Facebook, would have a pretty good grasp as to whether that person has high self esteem or low self esteem. The comments made by Forest and Wood make a lot of sense to me. The real friends would try to help a person with low self esteem by congratulating people with low self esteem when they find a job or enjoyed their vacations. However, when a person has high self esteem and writes about something sad like a death in the family, friends would make comments to console them.

Therefore, a person with low self esteem has choices as to how they want to present themselves on Facebook. If they want helpful comments, they can write about decisions they need to make for their future (for instance, where to live, or where to go to school). When they write about getting better jobs or having a healthy baby, people will say nice things about these updates. If they decide to use it to say their lives are awful, many other people will hear about it. They may or may not respond to it. Then when these people decide to look at their updates, they may feel like they have no hope for their future.

One of the advantages (and disadvantages) of Facebook is the ability to portray their lives as being better or worse than what people may see if they actually see the person on a regular basis. To enhance self esteem, I would suggest these people look for positive things about their lives or share funny things or inspiring quotes on Facebook. That way, they can help themselves become more grateful for what they have, and they can read their profiles when they feel overwhelmed by problems or discouraged. Reading positive updates would then boost their self esteem.

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