Internet & Happiness

Social Networks: A coin with two sides

Burger´s studies show that social networks can indeed have different effects. Specific behaviours and factors determine whether this form of human interaction makes a person happy or unhappy. On the average, however, there is no effect. Burger´s studies show that active participation in social networks contributes to new social bonds. In this case the media provides a source to establish new social contacts thereby enriching the individual´s well-being. On the other hand, the researcher found negative effects for people who were simply passively following other people. By spying and searching through, for example, other Facebook-profiles negative feelings like envy, jealousy or disfavour occur. Very often feelings of isolation result, so that the person concerned consider themselves as socially isolated and this makes them unhappier. The Italian researcher Fabio Sabatini from the University La Sapienza in Rome explores the causes for the shift concerning the social interaction in a life context which is characterized by a decline of real social participation and an a growth of online social participation. He comes to the conclusion that the increasing use of online social networks is a reaction of people to the steadily rising behaviour of being busy and thus, the reduced leisure time. By this, social networks save many working people from social poverty. People meet on the one hand in the real life and on the other hand they interact on online-platforms. In this way social networks act as coping mechanisms that maintain the people´s social life.

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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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