If you’re feeling down lately, you should try spending more face-to-face time with your friends and less Facebook time with them. Pacific Standard directs our attention to a new study conducted by two psychologists at the University of Innsbruck in Austria that finds spending time on Facebook can depress our mood even if we have no particular reason to feel sad. The reason for this, the researchers say, is that social media such as Facebook and Twitter can make us feel as though we’re wasting time much more than general Internet browsing.
“Our findings suggest that — on a daily basis — hundreds of millions of people engage in an activity that they consider (not very) meaningful… which in turn dampens their mood,” the researchers write in their journal article.
The researchers conducted their study by giving users regular quick surveys about how they were feeling at different times during the day and found that many of them showed a noticeable drop in mood after spending a significant amount of time on Facebook. Participants in the study who just browsed on the Internet but who didn’t mess around on social media websites did not report feeling anywhere near as glum.
In their conclusion, the researchers said that “Although Facebook is an excellent tool for … staying in touch with acquaintances, there are serious disadvantages of using it, such as envy, lowered life satisfaction of basic psychological needs, and dampened mood.”