Does everyone around me has a perfect life? A survey on how scrolling through positive social media contents can induce negative emotions among Bangladeshi young adults.
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The use of different social media platforms, such as – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and TikTok has increased dramatically over the last decade. As a result, they have made a huge impact on the users, specifically, the young adults (20-29 years old). Though these media have many positive aspects like connecting with people and getting updates about the outside world, their negative sides cannot be overlooked. On social media, the users mainly post the “best things” about their lives. Also, people spend most of their time on social media by passively following others’ updates. Therefore, others’ positive self-presentations can make some viewers perceive, everyone around them lives a “better” and “happier” life. This perception can lead them to evaluate themselves and their lives in a negative way. Hence, seeing others’ happiness on social media can make the viewers feel sad. In other words, scrolling through these social media feeds and stories invoke the viewers social comparison behavior, which subsequently gives birth to different negative emotional consequences. The current study therefore examined the relationship between passive social media usage and negative emotions through negative social comparison, in light of Festinger’s social comparison theory. The study also investigated the dimensions of comparison on social media context and examine the group of individuals who are most vulnerable to negative social comparison. An online survey was conducted on 80 participants with a set of questionnaires. The main focus was on the role of passive use in negative social comparison behavior and negative emotions. The results indicated that there is a strongly positive association between passive use of social media and negative social comparison and there is moderately positive association between negative social comparison and negative emotions. Some helpful suggestions were also discussed to avoid negative comparison on social media when passively viewing other’s positive contents.
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