Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

Summary: A new study has found that visiting your own Facebook profile gives your self-esteem a boost.

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Using Facebook can increase your self-esteem, according to a new study from Cornell University researchers, published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Researchers Amy Gonzales and Jeffrey Hancock conducted the experiment with three groups of 21 students each in the university's Social Media Lab.

The first one was the control group, which sat in front of blank computer screens for three minutes. The second group of individuals had mirrors propped up against their computer monitors and spent their three minutes looking at their own reflections. The third group was allowed to surf their own Facebook profiles and its associated tabs for the allotted time. At the end, all three groups were given a self-esteem questionnaire.

The Facebook group saw a spike in their self-esteem, while the control and mirror groups showed no discernible change in their self-esteem levels. I'd wager it probably helps that most people's Facebook Wall is covered with positive messages and personal information that brings back good memories. Remember, the point of Facebook is to connect or reconnect with people who care about you or find you interesting.

"Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves," Hancock said in a statement. "We're not saying that it's a deceptive version of self, but it's a positive one. For many people, there's an automatic assumption that the Internet is bad. This is one of the first studies to show that there's a psychological benefit of Facebook."

"There are not a lot of theories that have been tested within the computer-mediated communications field compared to other communications subfields, so this was exciting from a theoretical perspective," Gonzales said in a statement. "By providing multiple opportunities for selective self-presentation -- through photos, personal details and witty comments -- social-networking sites exemplify how modern technology sometimes forces us to reconsider previously understood psychological processes."

Wait a minute. Didn't we already find out that Facebook is stressful, or at least for those with a lot of friends? Correct, but this study limited Facebook use to just the user's own profile.

In other words, if you want to give your self-esteem a quick boost, don't browse Facebook. Go look at your own Facebook profile, and only your own Facebook profile.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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11 comments
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  • RE: Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

    ..dont care...
    jimkinsella@...
  • RE: Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

    Perhaps we should broaden our horizons beyond FB ... there just isn't that much there to discuss. It's a simple tool with limited uses for certain kinds of people who enjoy that sort of activity. It doesn't really warrant university studies comparing the effects of visiting one's profile to the joys of watching paint dry. When will simple intuition clue us in to the fact that we're trying to make a mountain out of a molehill?
    Trep Ford
    • RE: Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

      @Trep Ford ...the molehill that just was a major driving force behind a revolution in Egypt...
      cgallagher716
  • RE: Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

    ...and how about the kid who visits Facebook and finds no updates, no new messages and no confirmation for any of the friend requests she sent out last week? I'll bet that makes her feel great.
    Christobug
  • Poorly designed and implemented study

    I'm sorry, but this a poorly designed and implemented study done on a small group of (63) college students at a single university. Any generalizing done about it is silly. Here's what the researchers told subjects about the study -- "Each participant was told that the study was designed to examine people's attitudes about themselves after exploring different Internet sites. "<br><br>And then 2 of the 3 groups were not exposed to any Internet sites! How is that a good experimental design? Why weren't other groups shown other Internet websites?<br><br>And look at the alternative hypothesis -- wouldn't we expect people who are looking at their Facebook page to rate higher in self-esteem than people looking into a mirror?<br><br>Duh.
    grohol@...
  • RE: Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

    What an awful piece of misinformed analysis!

    Self esteem comes from within.

    A 3-minute flattery session will surely give a person a momentary spike of feel-good, but it can actually worsen their underlying self-esteem, and certainly increases their dependence on external validation.

    For true self esteem, take a look in the mirror and spend time listing the good things about that person, instead of picking holes in them...
    GreenAsJade
  • RE: Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

    I think they should have tried the study on lab rats (the ones with tails). They may have found the same result ;o)
    phil.eldridge@...
  • RE: Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

    ?No not really however?? If I happen to be one of students at Northwestern University
    (Chicago area) according to the news. Unusual classroom demonstration was held
    On campus last week in which students observed a woman being penetrated by sex toy.
    It occurred in front of about 100 students attending psychology professor J. Mickael Bailey?s Human sexuality class. Now this may give me self-steam!!!
    Tony4
  • Are people really this pathetic???

    If you need to log-in to ANYTHING to "boosts your self-esteem", the I feel sorry for you.
    wackoae
  • I can agree with this!

    As someone who struggles with clinical depression, reflecting on life can be an activity that quickly turns negative. I know when I've gone through my profile, it's done just as the article said: showed me a lot of positive facets of what I've done for the past couple of years, and actually made me feel a lot better about myself.

    Pathetic? Sure. But we're all pathetic to an extent, and I'm not too proud to admit that I could use a self-esteem pick me up every now and then, and if that comes from Facebook, than so be it. It's cheaper than therapy, haha.
    cgallagher716
  • RE: Visiting your Facebook profile boosts your self-esteem

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