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DO INCESSANT COMPARISONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA GENERATE FACEBOOK ENVY?

1. Introduction

Some body of research has produced mixed findings as regards the distinctive utilization of surveillance on Facebook that is supposed to cause feelings of envy. Surveillance use implies employing Facebook to keep informed or fully aware of what other individuals are doing. People employing Facebook for surveillance reasons deliberately use it to assimilate other individuals' personal information (Buran, 2015), being expected to notice specific aspects that activate feelings of envy. Facebook envy produces depression symptoms: Facebook use is associated with Facebook envy, and the latter is related to depression. (Tandoc Jr. et al., 2015)

2. Literature Review

A large body of research demonstrates that when conceiving impressions of other individuals (Anderson et al., 2015), it is unproblematic for recurrent Facebook users to recollect the remarks and images published by their Facebook pals. As individuals are stimulated to make positive self-presentations (Pera, 2015), the remarks and images published by Facebook pals are socially required. Regularly inspecting other individuals' disclosed positive life events (Nica, 2016), in addition to periodically examining their images of exultant moments (Petcu, 2015), offers Facebook users a conviction (Peters, 2015a, b) that other people are joyful and lead satisfactory lives. In opposition to their own life events (Willow and Keefer, 2015), which may not be permanently merry and beneficial (Popescu Ljungholm, 2015), recurrent Facebook users may think that life is unjust. (Chou and Edge, 2012)

3. Methodology

Our empirical data are collected from replicated surveys concerning the evolution of technology adoption and usage (U.S. adults), Facebook network size, the impact of technology on relationships, by cell phone, social media, and online dating status, and social networking site use by age group. Emotions after reading comments are affected by separate features, e.g. predominant mood (Popescu, 2016) and personality attributes. There is a beneficial mitigating impact of tie strength (Ionescu, 2016) on the link between the substance of comments and the feeling of contentment contingent on the process of emotional contagion. Positive emotions are more frequent than negative ones when browsing Facebook. (Lin and Utz, 2015) Complementary findings suggest that a user who inspects loosely an acquaintance's profile tends to perceive a flawless account of that person's existence that makes the latter appear content, attractive, and prosperous. (Vogel and Rose, 2016)

4. Results

Recent meta-analytic evidence demonstrates that the supply of social attractiveness is distributed in a group setting: if Facebook users regard their social attractiveness as inferior to that of other individuals (Nica et al., 2016), they feel subservient and thus eclipsed. Envy may generate depression, i.e. Facebook use brings about hopelessness (Peters, 2016) when it activates the feeling of malevolence (Peters and Besley, 2016) among users. Surveillance use of Facebook may diminish depression when it does not activate feelings of envy, but it may cause depression when it initiates Facebook envy. When Facebook use and depression are associated with envy, employing Facebook for surveillance adversely produces depression. (Tandoc Jr. et al., 2015) (Figures 1-5)
Figure 1 Impact of technology on relationships, by cell phone, social
media, and online dating status

              Major impact  Minor impact

Smartphone        15             21
owner
Cell phone         6             12
owner
No cell            5             10
phone
Social media      15             21
user
Not a social       6             13
media user
Online dater      40             28
Not an             9             16
online dater

Source: Pew Research Center. Our February 2017 survey. N=1,150 adults.
Note: Among those in committed relationships, the % within each group
who say technology has had a major vs. minor impact on their
relationship.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 2 Social networking site use by age group (2005-2017)

All internet users  9%  92%
18-29               8%  80%
30-49               7%  75%
50-64               6%  67%
65+                 1%  48%

Source: Pew Research Center. Our February 2017 survey. N=1,074 adults.
Note: % of internet users in each age group who use social networking
sites, over time.

Note: Table made from line graph.

Figure 3 Facebook--A must for U.S. teens

           2016  2017

facebook   95%   96%
Twitter    14%   26%
Instagram   2%   13%
myspace    26%    9%
You Tube    8%    9%
tumblr.     3%    7%
Google      2%    5%
pinterest   1%    3%

Source: Pew Research Center, Statista, and Mashable. Our February 2017
survey.
N=1,100 teens (ages 14-17).
Note: % of U.S. teenage social media users who have an account with 8
social media sites.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 4 Facebook network size

1-150    26%
151-300  26%
301-600  25%
601 +    21%

Source: Pew Research Center. Our January 2017 survey.
N=1,200 teens (ages 14-17).
Note: Among teen Facebook users, the % with the specified number of
friends in their network.

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Figure 5 The evolution of technology adoption and usage (U.S. adults)

Use the internet        52%  91%
Have broadband at home   1%  74%
Use social media         5%  73%
Own a smartphone        35%  78%
Own a tablet             3%  54%

Source: Pew Research Center. Our January 2017 survey. N=1,300 adults.
Note: Internet use figures based on pooled analysis of all surveys
conducted during each calendar year.

Note: Table made from line graph.


5. Discussion

Previous emerging empirical evidence has established that the correspondence tendency (Machan, 2016a, b) takes place when Facebook users formulate attributions (Cheung and Leung, 2016) regarding individuals whom they have never come across before (Ion, 2015), presupposing that contentment is a permanent feature (Lewis, 2016) of their dispositions (Fabricio, 2016) and that they incessantly enjoy satisfactory lives. For individuals they do know directly, their previous interplays with them (Lindberg, 2016) assist Facebook users in circumventing the temptation of correspondence bias (Horowitz, 2015) and identifying the external aspects (Schor, 2016) operating: it is the opportunities (Svizzero and Tisdell, 2016) that make their pals content. (Chou and Edge, 2012)

6. Conclusions

The extant literature has largely attempted to prove that if individuals are mindful (Radulescu, 2015) of the possible vulnerabilities (Anae, 2016) leading to intervals spent on Facebook, they curtail their routine (Hurd, 2016) or become more aware (Terry, 2016) of the negative feelings of envy (Hayes and Jeffries, 2016) bringing about exposure (Popescu Ljungholm, 2016) to other individuals' personal information. If users more swiftly categorize a negative feeling (Weede, 2016) as envy (Bratu, 2016a, b), they are affected (Lesko and Niccolini, 2016) and identify some kind of assistance (Kunnanatt, 2016) quickly enough to circumvent symptoms of depression. (Tandoc Jr. et al., 2015)

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AUREL PERA aurel.pera@ucv.ro University of Craiova

How to cite: Pera, Aurel (2017). "Do Incessant Comparisons on Social Media Generate Facebook Envy?," Analysis and Metaphysics 16: 117-123.

Received 18 April 2017 * Received in revised form 20 August 2017

Accepted 23 August 2017 * Available online 18 November 2017

doi:10.22381/AM1620177
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Publication:Analysis and Metaphysics
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Date:Jan 1, 2017
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