Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happiness Online? Well, Probably Not #Science

About 2.8 billion people are estimated to use social media worldwide.

Credit: Indiana University

With seven billion people in the world, users of social media account for almost half of them.

A study led by computer scientists at Indiana University has found that people with the most connections on social media are also happier. This may cause most social media users to not only regard themselves as less popular than their friends but also less happy.

The recently published study is essentially the first to provide scientific evidence for the feeling many people experience when they log into services like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: that everyone else looks like they're having more fun.

Science Daily:  Most people 'aren't as happy as their friends' on social media

Note:  that's not the perception by the Rockhouse since we don't think many at all of them have fun.  There's quite a bit of obsession but not a whole lot of fun.

The interested student is invited to review the methodology behind the research but you likely already predict the conclusion.

"Overall, this study finds social media users may experience higher levels of social dissatisfaction and unhappiness due to negative comparison between their and their friends' happiness and popularity," Bollen said. "Happy social media users may think their friends are more popular and slightly happier than they are -- and unhappy social media users will likely have unhappy friends who still seem happier and more popular than they are on average."

- SD

If you have hung about Ithaka for longer than it takes to read the article, you already know we don't believe happiness is defined worth a damn so people search for something but they're really not sure what it is.

I will be happy if ...

I have more friends

I acquire more stuff

I move somewhere else

and an unlimited number of variations on that theme.

They're not so good at separating That Would Be Nice from That Makes Me Happy and one more time for the Rockhouse mantra:  happiness is the absence of things which suck.  That sounds like stoner pish posh, perhaps, but there's more to it than that since we're not searching for anything.

Perhaps you might stretch it to say we search for things which result in suck reduction and we will accept it because that also illustrates the point.  Searching for something which reduces suck is finite since it likely exists or it doesn't with no ambivalence either way.  However, searching for happiness as if it's more than being alive to know the joy of the sunshine can't even be defined so it seems they keep redefining it but never quite get it right and wind up heartsick over it.

This is no lament since we believe they only need better teachers and we don't mean schoolhouse teachers nor we do we mean preachers but life teachers of some sort, trusted people who can mentor kids in such ways that they get it.  A good many of you adults could use some of that mentoring as well but it's all in good spirit in the value of it since there is no cost and you really don't have to do anything.

Ed:  if you roll, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" then I start shooting!

No, no, no since that only invites, "No, no, no, it ain't easy."  We can play that ping pong all night but there's no need since you know what I mean and you'll have a reason to shoot if I don't move along with this.

Another myth is becoming a star of social media and a book has just been released on the matter.

Fashion bloggers and Instagrammers seem to enjoy a coveted lifestyle, with jet-setting to exotic locales, couture clothing furnished by designers and countless other caption-worthy experiences.

Yet the attention lavished on these so-called "influencers" draws attention away from a much larger class of social media content creators: those who aspire to "make it" in the precarious, hyper-competitive creative economy, where they find only unpaid work.

Brooke Erin Duffy, assistant professor of communication, tells their story in her latest book, "(Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work" (Yale University Press, June 2017).

The book draws attention to the gap between the few women who find lucrative careers in social media and the rest, whose "passion projects" amount to free work for corporate brands.  The social media economy benefits few, new book suggests

Likely none of that is a surprise to you so the interested student is invited to pursue the original article.

Here's one more regarding making a smorgasbord of individuality.  (Observer:  Social Media Hasn’t Blurred the Line Between Personal and Private Life—It’s Gone)

Referring back to the top about online people comparing anything plus this one which slathers your anticipations of happiness all over that network, you will likely have some of the friends resentful of all the attention the unhappy one is getting and that person gets unhappy too.

There's nothing good in this, mates ... not one bloody thing.

Ed:  I'm feeling the Dalai Lama coming

I've been trying to avoid bringing him out but everyone is so mixed-up about happiness so whom else should we invite.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion. - Dalai Lama

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