Edinburgh Napier University has concluded that the more friends you have on Facebook, the more likely you are to go mad with stress.
A study from the psychology department concludes that, all in all, negative effects from being on the site are outweighed by “the benefits of staying in touch with friends and family”. According to Dr Kathy Charles, there is a minority of users who tend to experience anxiety from being on Facebook, with “only very modest or tenuous awards.”
“And we found it was actually those with the most contacts, those who had invested the most time in the site, who were the ones most likely to be stressed.”
The study found 12 percent of those surveyed felt anxious simply from being connected on Facebook. Similarly, 10 percent said they really didn’t like receiving friend requests, and 32 percent found rejecting requests made them feel guilty or uncomfortable.
Much like a glue habit, Facebook users worry about withdrawal. “Facebook keeps users in a neurotic limbo, not knowing whether they should hang on in there just in case they miss out on something good,” says Dr Charles. “Many told us they were anxious about withdrawing from the site for fear of missing important social information or offending contacts.”
“Responses we got in focus groups and one-to-one interviews suggests that the survey figures actually under represent aspects of stress and anxiety felt by some Facebook users, whether it’s through feelings of exclusion, pressure to be entertaining, paranoia or envy of others’ lifestyles.”
The Doc raises an interesting point: with our lives essentially on show all the time there is some pressure to live up to an image of yourself rather than just being yourself, for many. Skewed by celebrity culture anyway, is there a chance we’re in direct competition with ourselves about this funny, weird and useless thing we call our lives?