Happiness bias through social media

Don’t let social media fool you into thinking that people are happier than they actually are. Facebook may seem like the home of Duchenne smiles and self-congratulatory status updates, but not all users are in a perpetual state of happiness.

Recent studies have shown that a skewed perception of people’s lives through social media can lead to increased sadness and loneliness in young adults. And how could it not? It’s only natural for any human being to feel inadequate and disenchanted with life when, every time they log on to Facebook or Twitter, they are hit with everyone else’s good news in one fell swoop. It seems as if there’s always someone getting married, getting a puppy, making love to their cup of coffee, etc.

Let’s face it, most people do not hang up their dirty laundry for all the world to see. This leaves us with things that they do want us to see, which are usually limited to success and happiness.

Unless your contacts are Lorde, Marilyn Manson and Kristen Stewart, you’re likely to find several smiling faces on your Facebook news feed on a regular basis. You may also come across the ubiquitous YOLO hashtag on Twitter. Does that mean your peers are living such exciting, carefree lives? It’s a possibility. But it could also mean that they needed an excuse to do something stupid that day.

Keep in mind that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. We’re all human. We all laugh, we all cry. We just tend not to let others see the latter online. Don’t measure your happiness by comparing your life to someone else’s through social media. Figure out what you want, do what you can to make it happen, let yourself live in the moment and Tweet about it later.