Everything science had to say about Facebook this week

facebook scienceFacebook is more than just quirky status updates and pictures of your dog — shocking, we know. Check out everything the higher minds have had to say lately about the social network and all the frightening things it’s doing to our brains. 

More social network usage leads to lower self-control

We might not realize it, but social network users are more inclined to lose self-control, according to a study by researchers from Columbia Business School and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at University of Pittsburgh. In a paper titled, “Are Close Friends the Enemy? Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control,” researchers argue that social networks will boost a user’s self-esteem simply by how we choose to portray ourselves online.

Social network users tend to be selective about what’s published, and more often than not it’s the positive parts of their lives that become glamorized. You won’t see too many status updates about how few friends we have or how little we get paid. But the effects of this can be detrimental: To maintain this feeling of self-worth, social network users tend to lower their self-control, from which the study draws a parallel between higher social network usage with a “higher body-mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit card debt for individuals with strong ties to their social network.” Phew. Those are some heavy repercussions for exaggerating how much you had on your vacation.

HR is judging your job candidacy via social media

It should come as no surprise that you’re going to be scrutinized by current and potential employers starting for your social media presence. 

Reported by BusinessNewsDaily, AVG Technologies released a study that might be alarming for those of you looking for jobs. If you’re trying to secure that critical interview, it might be in your best interest to shield your social presence from the public’s eye. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Flickr. Here are some facts from the study that you should know about:

  • As many as 90 percent of human resource professionals, AVG found, will search for unprotected accounts to judge their merits based on what they find.
  • If a candidate looks like they’re drunk your chances of getting an interview drops by 84 percent (shocking!).
  • If there’s any nudity on your profile, 90 percent of human resources professionals agree that there’s no way that candidate will get an interview (again… shocking!).
  • Derogatory, negative, and racist comments found online will diminish your chances of securing that interview.
  • 50 percent of human resources professional admitted that they’ve disqualified a candidate due to their social media profiles.

Social media is increasingly used to find and read news

Social media users between the ages of 16 and 30 years are changing their news consumption habits. A study by a researcher from the Department of Communication Sciences of the Jaume I University in Castellón reports that just 28.8 percent of the 549 participants in the study were consuming the news from physical newspapers while 77.4 percent were using social media as their primary source for keeping up to date with the latest news. Just 6.2 percent were willing to subscribe to the news, and 76.3 percent of users would visit another site for news should their go-to source for news started charging.

How Facebook users interact with their parents on Facebook

child friending parent facebook

 Facebook recently conducted and released its own study about the interactions between family members to find out how users tend to communicate via the social network. According to Facebook research scientist Moira Burke, children between the ages of 13-17 were more likely to initiate a Facebook friend request to their parents than older Facebook users. To give you an idea about the difference in the online relationships among different ages of users, 65 percent of 13-year-old users sent friend requests to their parents while only 40 percent of users in their early 20s would send friend requests. That figure grows to 50 percent among users in their late 40s.

child parent communication by gender facebook

When it comes to conversations between parents and children, Facebook has found that across all ages daughters, will post on their parent’s Timeline more frequently than sons (although it’s worth noting that women in general are more frequent social media users). And women past the age of 30 will initiate conversations with their parents on Facebook more often than their parents would. Sons, on the other hand, receive more posts from their parents.

Facebook causes stress

If you’re trying to manage the many facets of your personality and life on Facebook to fit in with certain social circles, you might be among the people that are susceptible to anxiety from using the social network. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh published a study that that draws parallels between managing a Facebook profile with stress. What they found was that users on average were a part of seven different social circles. Regulating these multiple relationships is increasingly becoming a cause for stress now that Facebook is evolving into a network for keeping in touch with not only friends but relatives, co-workers, and even bosses.

“People will try and manage themselves and regulate how they appear on the site, so they will try and avoid saying things they think, as they are worried how it will appear. I have seen how people will delete photos and even regulate their offline behaviour for their online presence. If people are at parties and they see a camera they then think my boss, or my girlfriend might see this. So they might be smoking or drinking and when a camera comes around they will change their actions so people don’t see it on Facebook,” Ben Marder, who wrote the report, told The Telegraph.