Antisocial Media

Science Says Facebook FOMO Is Real, Makes People Feel Like Crap

That party looked sick guys, guess my phone was off?
:( (Photo: Fav IM)

:( (Photo: Fav IM)

It’s official: Facebook reduces young people’s sense of well-being and satisfaction with life, BBC reports. Phew, we thought we were the only ones who felt a rush of inadequacy whenever perusing the site.

A study tracked participants for two weeks, and “adds to a growing body of research saying Facebook can have negative psychological consequences,” BBC reports. The site is supposed to make people feel more connected, but the findings suggest it does the opposite.

Study participants’ levels of satisfaction with life declined more the more they used the site, the study found, while direct interactions with other people “seemed to have no effect on well-being,” BBC found.

Perhaps most depressingly, the study found that people spent more time on Facebook when they were feeling lonely. This supports other recent studies that indicate that how lonely a person feels is more detrimental to their well-being than whether or not that person is actually socially isolated. This whole concept can be summed up as scientific proof of FOMO, which BBC helpfully oldpersonsplains:

“Colloquially, this theory is known as FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – a side effect of seeing friends and family sitting on beaches or having fun at parties while you are on a computer.”

It should be noted, though, that Facebook is also useful for making users feel superior to idiots from high school who never moved out of their parents’ houses. That’s based on anecdotal evidence.

Follow Molly Mulshine on Twitter or via RSS. mmulshine@observer.com