Saturday, January 21, 2012

University Study: Does Facebook Make People Sad?

"It is all just lights on a screen." - Steve Proffitt

Facebook, which for many is the on-line equivalent of the happiest place on Earth, might actually be depressing for some and causing people to have doubts about the meaningfulness of their lives. Or so the journal for Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking would have you believe. In an article entitled Facebook: Friends' Happy Pictures Make You Sad? (click here), ABC News lays out a bitter truth in the following clear and unmistakable language:

There are plenty of reasons to feel down in today's fast-paced, hectic world, and you wouldn't think that the world's most popular social networking site would be one of them. But that's exactly what a new study by Utah Valley University has found.

According to the study, Facebook is making us sad. Why? It's all about the kinds of pictures people post on their pages. Facebook photos generally depict smiling, cheerful people having good times, conveying a sense of happiness. Of course everyone likes to smile for the camera, so that good cheer may be inflated or false. As others view the photos, they may believe this conveyed sense of intense happiness is real, making them think that their friends are much happier than they are.

This window into what the more sensitive might believe is a better world that they don't get to live in could be bumming out millions. That such an excessive expression of unrealistic happiness can be convincingly conveyed by Facebook has always been lost on me. My reaction to most of the pictures I have seen on Facebook is that they are of people who shouldn't eat so much. Then again, I have been something of a skeptic and a non-believer for quite some time.

But this is one of those paradoxes you run into every once in a while. We here at The Tattler have often returned to a bit of wisdom that the influential 1970s social critic John Lydon had shared back then on the topic of popular success in the media. "There are no happy people, just better actors," being his appraisal. And while this probably is a little bit more cynical than need be, it might actually apply in this case. Facebook could now be the place where many go to act out their conceptions of happiness, while allowing them at the same time to hide the more mundane aspects of their lives.

And then there is the "friend" thing:

They also asked about the student's Facebook usage, including how many "friends" they had on the site, and how many of those friends were people they knew.

After controlling for race, gender, religious beliefs and whether the volunteers were unattached or in a relationship, the researchers saw a pattern: The more time students spent on Facebook, the more they thought others had it better than they did.

"Those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives," wrote Chou and Edge. "Furthermore, those that included more people whom they did not personally know as their Facebook "friends" agreed more that others had better lives."

I have often thought that someone claiming to have (let's say) 1,000 "friends" on their Facebook page might be stretching the truth a little because, let's face it, who can actually remember the names of a thousand people? I know I have trouble dealing with around 50.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg doesn't think highly of the users of his service?

In what might be shocking news to those who have adopted the Facebook lifestyle, it appears that CEO and Founder of the popular on-line social media service, Mark Zuckerberg, might not hold those who use it in a very high regard. This from (click here):

Facebook CEO Admits To Calling Users 'Dumb F***s' - Mark Zuckerberg admits in a New Yorker profile that he mocked early Facebook users for trusting him with their personal information. A youthful indiscretion, the Facebook founder says he's much much more mature now, at the ripe age of 26.

"They trust me ------ dumb f***s" says Zuckerberg in one of the instant messages, first published by former Valleywag Nicholas Carlson at Silicon Alley Insider, and now confirmed by Zuckerberg himself in Jose Antonio Vargas's New Yorker piece. Zuckerberg now tells Vargas, "I think I've grown and learned a lot" since those instant messages.

Considering that Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook corporation have often been cited for their commercial misuse of private information provided to them by the users of his concoction, the quote really is quite revealing. You have to wonder if Zuckerberg's regret is based more on his need to control the effects of a Public Relations gaff than any fundamental attitude change about the people who helped to make him a billionaire.

Mark your calendars! Bart Doyle to speak!

According to The Voter, the official voice of The League Of Women Voters, there will be a "Lunch With the League" event held on February 2nd at the Women's City Club of Pasadena. The topic will be "Pasadena Unified School District Districting (Creating Sub-District Boundaries)," and the speaker with be none other than El Monte's favorite son, Bart Doyle.

Here is how they fluff the one-time Titan Development CEO:

Presenter: Mr. Bart Doyle, Task Force Member from Sierra Madre. Mr. Doyle has over thirty years experience as a consultant and attorney specializing in housing, land use, regional growth and environmental affairs. He is a former Mayor of Sierra Madre.

No mention of his current legal difficulties in El Monte stemming from the collapse of a billion dollar transportation centered redevelopment project in large part funded by public dollars. Or the involvement of the FBI and HUD in the investigation of that grim debacle. Maybe somebody should attend and ask about that?

And while you're at it, you might want to ask some of the League worthies in attendance why they intruded on our Measure V election a while back by actually endorsing the "No on V" position. Just one more thing that makes you question the non-partisan claims of this organization, and their continued role in conducting such things as our City Council election debates.

The time on Feb 2 is 11:15 a.m. Address and other particulars can be found by clicking here and scrolling down one page.


  1. Johnny Rotten? Seriously?

  2. What can I say? I've been in the music business for 20 years.

  3. John Shear has a happy Facebook!

  4. While there are without a doubt good and useful facebook pages, I think most people would be better off if they just got up from behind their computer screens and did more socializing in person.

  5. Love it! Johnny Rotten was a social critic. His commentary wasn't too far off regarding this fair city where there's an overabundance of rainbows and unicorns.

  6. 8:38, there are people who have a good relationship with facebook and I'm sure Mr. Shear is one of them. The article is talking more generally, and if you know any teens, you recognize the truth of what the researchers have found. There is also an excellent South Park episode on the topic:

  7. facebook is electronic scrap booking.

  8. While I agree that facebook is one of those black holes that sucks people down into meaningless distraction, it also has a malleable quality. People can make the material worthwhile.

  9. Mr. Doyle will find himself in good company in aligning himself with the liars and cheaters from PUSD. There's still plenty that haven't jumped the sinking ship.

  10. We certainly do have our royalty here in Sierra Madre.

  11. Zukerberg is to genuine social interaction as Doyle is to integrity.

  12. Let's face it, the only reason the likes of Doyle, Mosca and Buchanan are drawn to the PUSD is because of the couple hundred million dollars in construction bond money it controls. They couldn't give a damn about the kids.

  13. Like me! Like Me! Please, like me!

  14. The League of Women Voters wants to listen to a man who is under investigation for shenanigans with tax payers dollars?

  15. It is a very wise idea to pay close attention to the redistricting maps that are being proposed for the representation areas for PSUD school board. Do you want your representative to come from an area with like values? Some of the proposed district line are nothing more than gerrymandering to ensure that certain board members remain on the board. The boundary lines that are drawn WILL affect your property values

  16. @anonymous 8:56- PUSD isn't really concerned about the kids either......why would they have chosen Doyle? Is there some Honowitz connection to this?

  17. What's sad to me, Crawford is the fact that POS Bart Doyle actually has a speaking engagement Feb. 2.
    How disgraceful can you get?
    City Hall better not have the Plague of Women Voters doing our city council candidates debate this year!

    The fact that the man who is under investigation by the authorities for illegal and unethical practices in El Monte, and invited to speak at the Women's Club of Pasadena? Not to mention is is the cause of 90% of Sierra Madre's problems. He is actually a threat to our community.
    Even more of a disgrace is the fact that Moran, Buchanan and Walsh named this creepy creature, Doyle, to represent us at PSUSD. Shameful.

    We should protest at this "event"
    DISGUSTING ain't the word.
    I guess sad is.

  18. A former fan of the League of Women Voters, I lost all respect for the Pasadena chapter when they came out against the Voters Empowerment Ordinance.

    Maybe that chapter likes huge contradictions.

  19. Doesn't Jackie Knowles do publicity for the League of Women Voters? She hated Measure V. Bigtime Joe worshipper.

  20. Whoever it is 9:03, somebody sold them a bill of goods. I can't believe the members know what Doyle is alleged to have been up to in El Monte.

  21. It is quite possible that the League of Women Voters is just another part of the support apparatus for the San Gabriel Valley redevelopment mafia.

  22. 9:03?
    Bart Doyle is also responsible for attempting to destroy Measure V, the voter's empowerment act. The very thing that has SAVED our property values.
    Every bad thing that happens to this town, this monster, Doyle is responsible.

    You got that right. They are part of the San Gabriel Valley organized crime syndicate.

  23. Anonymous 8:56......please explain (seriously) how certain Board Members will be enabled to remain on the board by gerrymandering the district lines? Is this similar to how the Board of "Ed" currently serves their own, rather than the whole community?

  24. Don't be calling, Doyle a son of El Monte, or ignoring the fact that what he did in El Monte he got to practice first as a Mayor of Sierra Madre.

    That being said, remember "Birds of a feather, flock together" That means PUSD members that put him on their task force, The Women's Association, The League of Women Voters of Pasadena, the council people are complicit in the machinations of Doyle. No exceptions, no "can't believe". You have heard of guilt by association. So be it. Pay 20.00 to go to a lunch to hear Doyle speak? Shame Shame

  25. Come on you guys, chill out. The LWVPA is one of many small local orgs that get used by these development and utility networks to propagandize their agendas while they keep the public in the dark about the real information.

    Most of the folks in the service clubs, churches, etc. don't realize their efforts are being steered to cover regional shenanigans, it's like any other affinity scam. A few guys at the top of the heap work together to get things ramrodded through that drain everyone's pocketbooks because they're "trusted" leadership. Follow the money.

    That's why the disintegration of investigative reporting (no budgets, no newspaper departments, etc.) is such a disaster to democracy, there's no accountability any more.

    Corruption rots societies from the inside. Look at Mexico and Latin America. Powerful families, weak government, nonexistent democratic process. That's why they have revolutions every generation or so. Goes nowhere, just thrashes around.

  26. I had a FB account then canceled it then opened it again when distant cousins wanted to post photos for me. Then I canceled it again when a current candidate wanted to friend me or have me friend the candidate.

    My friends e-mail me!

    Then I am out the door to go play!

  27. ... yes, electronic scrapbooking and somewhat like a stream of consciousness Christmas letter, or back in the day when people sent post cards while traveling, then again the purpose it serves as a newsletter about someone for which there is real news of interest, namely John Shear...

  28. Bart Doyle's expertise in the area of environmental concerns comes from his long history of fighting environmental protection while working on projects for BIA clients/colleagues.

  29. Great comment, Local Yokel.

  30. Hopefully with this election we get our revolution. The rot from City Hall stinks to high heavens.

  31. So, Local Yocal are you saying we should just "fogetaboutit" and let these thieves have their merry way with there no hope in getting the members of these groups being used, LWV, etc. to open their eyes?

  32. 10:40, I don't think your point was addressed in Yokel's comment. Maybe the first thing to do is stop accusing people of great evil when they are not aware of how they are being used, then develop an education strategy. Should you have the time and energy.

  33. Ignorance is no excuse, 10:46. If that was the case we'd live in a world filled with saints.

  34. I don't see any "forgetaboutit" in the remarks made by Local Yokel.
    It's more of a "keep your eyes on who is manipulating" suggestion, and don't get hung up in blaming the manipulatees.

  35. Agreed. I'm giving Local Yokel a "like."

  36. The Tattler blog is obviously part of the education strategy being invoked by people fighting for Measure V. It needs to be published periodically and passed around the community for folks who aren't digitally savvy but do go to the voting booth a lot.

  37. Maybe the local yokal suggestion to chill out was as if to say what are you getting worked up about? There is so much to get worked up about it is daunting as to where to start.

  38. Unlike ambiguity and bold faced, preposterous lies.... "Unfriend " bart doyle, and g3....LOL LOL LOL

  39. Off topic, but it's the Tattler and we don't care, reading Goss' campaign statement on the fish in nets site, this caught my eye:
    "These experiences have made me a strong supporter of essential public services which include parks, the library and senior services."
    So Mr. Goss is for maintaining all of the services we currently have, as essentials.
    Open up your wallets some more.

  40. Goss is the creature of Janice Nelson and Doug Hayes. He is a stealth candidate.

  41. If I said what I really think about bart and. g3 I'd go straight to hell & then I'd have to spend eternity with them.

  42. Did I say "if I said what I really think about bart and g3, I'd go straight to hell, but then, I'd have to spend eternity with them?"

  43. Mother of teens who does monitorJanuary 21, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Facebook is genius. It landed at the right time and place. When children are brilliant at the computer and parents are ignorant. Children do not interact at dinner with adults and get to meet and talk with "friends" on social networks. It is not going away.

    Zuckerman is arrogant and knows exactly what he is doing. He cashes in on great opportunities. Parent blindness, irresponsibility, teen loneliness, boredom and not enough reading and doing homework.There is not enough monitoring by the greatest contributor to education: PARENTS!

  44. Janice (we need paramedics)Hayes Nelson is the bane of this community.

    First of all, Sierra Madre, we have paramedic service, it has always come out of our property taxes, provided by the County of Los Angeles.
    So, we are paying TWICE.
    Also out of our property taxes is fire protection, provided by the County, again we're paying twice.

    Next question. Why is it that we have a police force that takes up
    a huge chunk of our city fund?
    In the early 90's there were about 15 police officers, approx. same population in Sierra Madre as today. Other small communities on a budget use the Sheriffs.
    Now there are 30???? WTF is going on?
    Next: The Sierra Madre Skilled Nursing, provided care for 50 patients, medical care. It worked very well. It was an asset to this community.
    Why do we need a fraudulent "Assisted Living Scam"
    nothing more than a hotel, no medical staff whatsoever.

    Why? Pretty easy to see without looking too far....$$$$$$$$$$ for greedy development interests and crooked politicians and their pals.

    Be very careful who you vote for.
    There is at least one "Manchurian candidate" probably 2.

    Caution ain't the word, Sierra Madre.

  45. John, sorry I didn't see this yesterday... I was working. I love the Johnny Lydon reference! I'm actually impressed. Next thing you know, I'll be reading a Jello Biafra quote on here. I'm actually a fan of Facebook. I enjoy connecting with friends from both past and present. And, speaking of music, it's a great way to spread the news of upcoming gigs. But seriously, if you are going to share that Facebook makes people sad, then what does a blog like this do to people? Is it so different? At least on Facebook, people aren't anonymous. On Facebook, one actually speaks their mind, and is accountable for their words. Since you dropped the fake name, you have become a known entity, and I give you credit for it. I truly enjoy reading some of your articles, I just wish that I had the strength to resist reading the comments. As a lifelong resident of Sierra Madre who loves this town, it is seriously depressing to read many of these comments. At 8:47 am, while you say that "I think most people would be better off if they just got up from behind their computer screens and did more socializing in person", I agree. I'm not sure who you are, because you hide behind "anonymous". Let's meet up and discuss our ideas about where Sierra Madre was, is now, and where we want it to go. You name the time and place. I'll buy the coffee. Bring friends - including John if you want. I'd love to talk. My email is if you would like to meet. I bet you'd be surprised about what a "dirt" feels about this town.


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