Is social media making us miserable? Study after study seems to confirm the increasingly common complaint you hear — that the more time we spend on the platforms, the worse we feel about our lives.
The latest, by Holly Shakya from the University of California and Nicholas Christakis from Yale University, actually quantifies our misery. They found that there was as much as an 8 percent drop in personal happiness after using Facebook.
1. _______ There are a couple major flaws in this argument.
The first, and perhaps more obvious one, is that Facebook and other social-media platforms like Twitter or Instagram are reflections of our input. They don’t produce content to show us without our participation. We choose what we see.
On Facebook, we generally friend people we know “in real life.” Those people then show us what they had for dinner, post pictures of their kids and pets, share their political opinions and their selfies from vacation.
2. _______ If that makes you feel unhappy, Facebook gives you a range of options. If seeing magical sunsets from your friend’s trip to Barbados makes you mad, it lets you click “Hide Post----See fewer posts like this.”
In fact, Facebook is the social network that most lets you adapt your experience to get what you want out of it. Of course your friends will annoy you on Facebook, as they might in real life, but only on Facebook do you have the ability to shush them for a little while or forever.
But that gets at what Facebook can’t do: Screen your daily real-life interactions.
In short, it’s not Facebook, it’s you. The “social media is making your miserable” experiments can’t quantify how much other things might make you miserable as well.
They’re not with you on the subway when you read the comment page of a paper that makes you annoyed. They don’t see your eye-roll when you catch up with a friend over coffee and you end up listening to a half-hour talk on all the great things happening in your friend’s life.
3. _______ Social media, and Facebook in particular, don’t invent things for you to get mad about, they only add to what is already annoying you.
And that leads us to the other flaw in these Facebook-makes-you-unhappy studies: People are already angrier than they used to be, creating a chicken-and-egg question. If you survey angry people, it’s likely the interactions that make them angry will have a lot to do with their daily routine.
That daily routine, by the way, includes lots of things that constitute an improvement over the daily lives of previous generations. Even though lifeexpectancy has increased and quality of life continues to improve across the world, we’re angrier and sadder than ever before.
A 2015 study by Ryne Sherman, Sonja Lyubomirsky and Jean M. Twenge in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found that while contentment used to come with age, our older people are no longer happy. 4. ________
We can’t blame that on Facebook.
1. The question “But is it actually Facebook that’s making us unhappy?” is best to be placed in Blank _______.
A. 1 B. 2
C. 3 D. 4
2. Which of the following would the author most probably agree with?
A. Social media is the major source of your unhappiness today.
B. People are angrier than before even if social media did not exist.
C. Facebook provides people with means to make themselves happy.
D. Older people are not happy because of their age.
3. Which might be the best tile for the passage?
A. Facebook cannot screen your real-life interactions.
B. Study shows that Facebook makes you unhappy.
C. Facebook creates a chicken-and-egg question.
D. Not Facebook but you are making yourself unhappy.