Facebook released a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the “emotional contagion through social networks.” In this study, researchers from Carnell and the University of California-San Francisco tested whether seeing a sad status update made it more likely for the reader to follow suit, posting something gloomy. Although the study found that social networks can propagate positive and negative feelings, we wanted to see if BYU students thought social media could change their emotions.
“They don’t. At all. Not at all.” — Josh Kunzler, Business management, Salem, Oregon
“Well I guess it depends how much I use it. The only thing I use is Facebook. I have a rule that I check it once a week to see if there’s anybody that wants to get a hold of me because I have noticed in the past that it’s easy to compare yourself to other people.” — Jeffrey Handy, Business, Sandy
“I’m really not into social media that much. I deleted my Facebook right before I came to college, so I’ll do Instagram and stuff like that, but as far as it affects happiness, it’s not really a part of it.” — Haleigh Barney, Undeclared, Alpine
“In a positive way. It’s nice to hear about things in my friends’ lives. It’s fun every once in a while to catch up on what’s going on in my friends’ lives.” — Collin Smith, Journalism, Colorado Springs, Colorado
“For me, it makes me happier because I use it to keep in contact with people from my mission, mostly. And I’ve moved around a lot so it helps me keep in contact with those people. It’s just an easier way to keep in contact with people. I think if you use it right it then helps you be happier but if you spend way too much time then you’ll get depressed.” — Elizabeth Tingey, humanities, Salt Lake City
“I think it helps me stay in contact with my friends and family. I’m from Rhode Island so it helps me know what is going on in my family’s life. I think if you’re moderate in your use of Facebook it should increase your happiness with friends and family.” — David Monson, Economics, Rhode Island
“It definitely affects it. I think that being on it too much can definitely make you become more obsessed with it and then definitely create less happiness.” — Christa Lahmann, Psychology, Sacramento, California