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Is Facebook Doing More Harm than Good? 6 Reasons Why Facebook Is Making Us Unhappy

Is Facebook Doing More Harm than Good? 6 Reasons Why Facebook Is Making Us Unhappy

A lot of questions about Facebook have arisen in recent weeks. One of the biggest ones is whether or not Facebook actually makes you unhappy. Is it true? It depends on the individual, but here are a few reasons Facebook might be doing you more harm than good.

1. Facebook is addictive.

Most of the people reading this will probably attest to the fact that Facebook can be extremely addictive. By definition, that makes it something that can cause harm to you, especially since if you can’t easily abstain from it. As we all know, addiction can be a dangerous thing, even with something as seemingly innocuous as a widely-used website.

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2. Facebook purposefully manipulates your emotions.

Facebook recently revealed that it performed an experiment on us in 2012 without our consent. Facebook tweaked almost 700,000 English-speaking users’ news feeds to find out if the content they viewed affected their moods. That particular study suggests that being exposed to positive content encouraged positive thinking, while being exposed to negative content encouraged negative thinking. The results of the study aren’t as important, though, as the fact that Facebook deliberately made hundreds of thousands of users unhappy. It was a huge violation of trust, perfectly demonstrating the harmful consequences of the social media outlet.

3. Facebook is the new playground.

Nowadays a lot of people, especially young people, are doing the majority of their socializing on the web, and on Facebook in particular. Like any kind of social environment, Facebook can be a place where unpleasant things are said and unhappy feelings are felt. Just because no one’s beating you up and taking your lunch money doesn’t mean you’re not dealing with bullies. Social media platforms like Facebook are just as likely to expose kids to ridicule or pain as the playground or school halls. Maybe moreso, in fact; we’ve all seen reports of emotional abuse that happened on Facebook or other social media. Actions on Facebook may not result in as much real world accountability, making it a place cruel people might flock to.

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4. Facebook reminds you of what you don’t have.

Are you single? Enjoy hearing about all the new relationships and engagements and wedlocks in your news feed. The same goes for seeing people socialize while you’re at home or getting promotions when you’re stuck at a dead end job. Chances are, being exposed to things you wish you had on Facebook will make you envious, which will in turn will make you unhappy.

5. Facebook is par of the Internet.

The web’s reputation is improving, but it’s still home to a lot of nasty stuff. The recent celebrity nude photos scandal is a testament to that. Facebook is less seedy than some other social media outlets because it discourages anonymity, but at the same time, it remains a part of the Internet. A lot of things on Facebook are liable to make you unhappy simply because it exists on the web, a place where a lot of people are ruder or more defiant than they would be face-to-face. A difference in opinion is more likely to lead to an argument on Facebook than the real world, for example.

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6. Facebook prevents engagement.

The New Yorker wrote a fascinating article explaining why there’s conflicting research on whether or not Facebook makes us unhappy. It theorized that the unhappy people are the ones who are using Facebook passively. By just scrolling through their news feeds or photos, they weren’t engaging. The people who benefit from Facebook are probably the ones creating content, contributing something to the world instead of just killing time. Boredom leads to unhappiness, and browsing Facebook is often something that people do when they’re bored or even something that bores them even further. If you’re feeling unhappy on Facebook but don’t want to give it up, consider becoming more active on it. Post status updates, contribute to discussions, share photos, etc. Just get involved!

Featured photo credit: Scott Beale via flickr.com

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More by this author

Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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