March 02, 2011

Study Shows Facebook Can Improve Self-Esteem


A new study displayed in the journal ‘Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking’ from two Cornell researchers, found that Facebook (News - Alert) actually helps boost people's self-esteem.

For the study, researchers Amy Gonzales and Jeffrey Hancock gathered 63 random students in the university's Social Media Lab. The students sat in front of computers, some showing their Facebook profiles, some showing just a black screen, and some of which, had mirrors propped against the computer screen.

The students were required to sit there for a total of three minutes, with the group privy to Facebook only allowed to spend three minutes surfing only their own page.

When the three minutes time limit was up, everyone was given a questionnaire on self-esteem. The control and mirror groups saw no rise in self-esteem; the Facebook group, did, however.

"Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves," Hancock told Cornell Chronicle. "We're not saying that it's a deceptive version of self, but it's a positive one."

Now what is most interesting is whether the group that was allowed to view their profiles self-esteem was improved because they viewed pictures they chose—which might represent the fact that they thought they had their best foot forward in each one of these, or because of the likes and positive comments they received under selected pictures, or displayed upon their wall.

Although this study represents the fact that self-esteem improved because of the social media giant, what is the effect upon socialization? Does Facebook hinder or enable private people to share their world?


Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein