Much of what gets written these days about social networking sites, especially Facebook, point out the negative aspects—for example that it could reinforce narcissism, or jeopardize your relationship with your partner—but today we relate a study from Dr. Theresa Sauter of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation that looks at some positive aspects.
Dr. Sauter examined Facebook and similar sites where people post regular updates, and found they have give significant psychological benefit to many people. The posts act as a modern diary, a place to tell the world about your accomplishments and sometimes your failings.
Even better than a diary, you get feedback from your peers which helps keep you from digressing too much from socially acceptable behavior. And when you post something truly good you have accomplished, especially something good you have done for others, you get a natural boost to your self-esteem, which hopefully reinforces good or altruistic behaviors.
It is amazing to consider that less than a decade ago, almost none of us had a public outlet to vent our thoughts and deeds. Previously, only the elite or well connected had that ability. In ancient Greece and early Christianity, only a very small percentage of the population was able to read and write. The culture was predominantly oral. Stories and traditions needed to be memorized so they could be passed to later generations.
Even in the past few centuries, when literacy has blossomed, only a few were able to let others in society know what they were thinking or doing. That is then another (hopefully) blessing from technology—now, almost anyone has the potential to have their thoughts and words recognized by the world at large.
Facebook has permitted most people to broadcast their daily activities not to millions of people, but at least wide enough that many people reflect more on what they are doing with their lives. Dr. Sauter says:
Writing on social networking sites is more than an outlet for narcissistic bravado…people can use these sites to work on themselves…For instance, users might post about buying unhealthy food, and ask their friends if they were bad… It doesn’t mean they create new personalities on Facebook, but rather that they understand and keep reshaping their own identity through self-writing.
So while some people can get addicted to social networking sites and lose time they should be working or interacting face-to-face with others, this Australian sociologist believes thee sites can be a means for continuous self-reflection and improvement. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment and let the world know!
While many negative psychological aspects of Facebook and similar sites have received lots of attention, an Australian researcher published a study describing how these sites can be a source of continuous self-improvement.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)