Facebook Popularity Can Cause Stress, Says Study

Facebook Popularity Can Cause Stress, Says Study
Alan Levine / Flickr

Ever look at your Facebook News Feed and say to yourself, With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Yeah. Don't let the drama, vacay boasting and ubiquitous foodie photos get you down -- and, yes, they are getting you down. Not only that, but add in love woes: Most Facebookers have more exes as friends than current partners. Really.

But the most stress is reserved for the most-popular people:

A new study from the University of Edinburgh Business School found that the "more groups of people in someone's Facebook friends," the more stress you'll feel, according to a summary.

Why? Well, mostly because those groups include family and bosses:

Facebook Popularity Can Cause Stress, Says Study
facebookfights.com

In particular, adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.

The problem, it seems, is old people ruining the party for the rest:

Stress arises when a user presents a version of themself on Facebook that is unacceptable to some of their online 'friends,' such as posts displaying behaviour such as swearing, recklessness, drinking and smoking.

As older people join the site, this has become an increasing problem as their expectations may be very different from those of younger users.

Some 55 percent of parents follow their children on Facebook. Likewise, more than half of employers claim not to have hired someone based on their Facebook page.

Complicating things are complicated relationships. While your biggest groups of Facebook friends include 1) people you really know, 2) family, 3) extended family, 4) friends of friends, and 5) people from work, you also keep a lot of skeletons, according to the summary:

... More people are Facebook friends with their former partners than with their current relationship partner. Only 56 percent of users were friends with their boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse online, compared with 64 percent of exes.

The report's author, Ben Marder, says that while the site used to be a "like a great party for all your friends where you can dance, drink and flirt" it has become "full of potential social landmines."

The cure? Everybody back to MySpace! And no exes, uncles or moms allowed.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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