Internet & Happiness

What do social networks do with us?

The economic and technological development of the last few years strongly changed our way of living. The rising of the Internet and diverse online-platforms has caused crucial cultural changes. New forms of social interaction originated and became increasingly important. Dr. Martijn Burger from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam is academic director from the “Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation“. Burger runs happiness research referring to the correlation with social networks. Being happy and satisfied is one of the major goals of humans. In order to being able to examine happiness we have to know: what makes us really happy? Social contacts play essential roles. Family, friends, acquaintances or the neighbours, social relationships positively affect our happiness level. Many researchers consider the development of the social networks to be threatening because they fear a decrease of the social competence. They observe a slow replacement of the community life by those networks. That means, people spending more time on online-platforms than in the real community. Another research direction, however, indicates the advantages of the social networks. They provide people with the opportunity to establish new social bonds thus paving new ways to happiness. Researchers are currently controversially discussing if social networks have either positive or negative or even none effect on the humanly interaction. The opposite views are also reflected in different studies. Some studies results presented a positive, some a negative and some none effect on the individual well-being. How can we explain the contradictory results?

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  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Oswald Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Prof. Dr. Ronnie Schöb Professor for International Public Economics, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven Emeritus Professor Social Conditions of Human Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Carmelo Vazquez President of the International Positive Psychology association
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl Folkwang University Essen
  • Dr. Martijn Burger Academic Director Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation
  • Dr. Adam Okulicz Kozaryn Researcher Rutgers University
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