If you've ever in your life called someone a weirdo for suddenly and rather dramatically "leaving" Facebook, then recent science now confirms the joke's on you because, well, we're all weirdos? The professionals over at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen decided to recruit 1,095 "daily Facebook users" to measure the potential impact of Facebook on that elusive feeling that so conveniently appears in the very name of their organization: happiness. By first examining participants’ typical Facebook behavior, researchers were able to determine that about 94 percent of them visited Facebook as part of a "daily routine," which is sad because Twitter > Facebook, even though Twitter has started looking a lot like Facebook recently.
With that 94 percent majority firmly in mind, the Happiness Research team then divided participants into two groups that would probably never hang out together: one allowed to use Facebook normally, one forced to quit "cold turkey." After seven grueling days of Facebookless purgatory, the forced-to-quit group reported feeling "more satisfied" with their lives, with 88 percent of them claiming they were actually feeling "happy," whatever that is:
Researchers suggest that Facebook’s tendency, as with much of social media, to highlight the best (i.e. not outwardly depressing) moments of everyone’s existence contributes to a decrease in that mythical happiness thing, according to Quartz:
The group that still regularly used Facebook was 55% more likely to feel stressed. Researchers suggest that as Facebook highlights the best of everyone’s life, people on the site end up focusing on what other people have, which may explain why users felt less happy after regularly using the site.
As also noted by Quartz, this is not necessarily a causal relationship, as the results are based on self-reported responses. Researchers most certainly discovered a link between happiness and cold-quitting Facebook, but further investigation will be required to determine whether or not we’re all a bunch of weirdos with absolutely zero chance of happiness. Prediction: We are.