Looking at Facebook boosts self-esteem

By Shayna Brouker • Published: June 9th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Feeling a little down? Need a reminder of how awesome you are? Don’t look in the mirror. Take a look at your other face — your Facebook profile, that is. Maybe your crush left a flirty post on your wall responding to your witty status. Oh, and a bunch of friends flooded your new photo album with flattering comments. Feel better already, right?

A recent Cornell University study found that Facebook allows users to put their best faces forward in their online profiles and compared the revolutionary social networking site to a mirror image of ourselves, only better. By editing and filtering what information the virtual world sees, users can portray an enhanced version of themselves.

The study allowed one group of college students to spend three minutes perusing their own Facebook profile page. Another group gazed at mirrors set up at turned-off computers. The third group simply sat at a desk with a shutdown computer. Afterward, the participants filled out a survey rating their self-esteem.

Those who looked at their Facebook pages and played around with their profiles reported higher self-esteem than those who did not.

The researchers deemed editing one’s Facebook profile “optimizing self-presentation.” In other words, crafting a better version of yourself online actually improves self-esteem. Did someone tag an especially unflattering picture of you from dinner last night? Just untag it.

Another study found that actively searching for information about friends, rather than just scrolling the newsfeed and browsing aimlessly, made users feel more positive.

So if you need a dose of self-esteem or want to feel more connected to your friends, log in to Facebook, update your profile and scope out your friends’ pages too. A few minutes on the Web’s most popular social network might have you feeling better in no time.