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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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Matt OKeefe

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

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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