A recent study from Cornell suggests Facebook can have a positive influence on the self-esteem of college students.
Jeffrey Hancock, associate professor of communication at Cornell University and co-author of Mirror, Mirror on my Facebook Wall: Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self-Esteem, is the man behind the study. He said people's self-edited reflection of their self on Facebook gives them a better feeling than a real reflection.
Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves, Hancock said. We're not saying that it's a deceptive version of self, but it's a positive one.
Hancock took 63 Cornell students and put them in a computer lab. Some of the students were seated at computers that showed their Facebook profiles, in others seats computers were turned off. In front of the turned off computer was a mirror.
The Facebook students were allowed to spend three minutes on the page, only exploring their profiles and associated tabs. Then after the time was up, both groups were then given a questionnaire designed to measure their self-esteem.
The results showed those who had Facebook had much more positive feedback about themselves. Users who had edited their profile had an even higher sense of self.
For many people, there's an automatic assumption that the Internet is bad. This is one of the first studies to show that there's a psychological benefit of Facebook, Hancock said.
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