Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 06:10 am est

Jealousy factor: social media and self-deprecation

Posted on February 5, 2013 | by WSN Editorial Board

A recent study by researchers at the Department of Information Systems of the Darmstadt University of Technology and the Institute of Information Systems at the Humboldt University of Berlin found a significant statistical association between Facebook use and feelings of envy and general dissatisfaction. Over one-third of the respondents in the study described being frustrated, depressed or less confident as they scrolled through their friends’ pictures, statuses and posts. Furthermore, the study found that about one-fifth of the recent events that provoked envy in the respondents’ lives took place on Facebook.

To a certain degree, these results are to be expected. Facebook is not an accurate representation of our lives, but rather a filtered representation. We only show others what we want them to see and vice versa, thus inducing jealousy or envy when considering our own imperfect, ordinary lives. That said, an important implication of the study is the necessity of moderation with regards to social networking and our general online presence.

Furthermore, it is important to recall that Facebook interaction is not a reasonable substitute for personal interaction and should not be treated as such. Social media is inherently vulnerable to significant embellishment, whether of our looks, credentials or experiences. More importantly, it tends to minimize our quotidian imperfections, which ultimately define us. If we continue to compare our real selves to enhanced versions of our friends, we will undoubtedly find ourselves on a path of self-deprecation.

The effects of Facebook usage shown in this study echo the concerns of earlier days regarding the effects of violence in video games, cellphone radiation and food preservatives. Many of these incredible technologies catch on quickly, becoming household names within the blink of an eye, but can have profound health effects that are only discovered years later. Fortunately, the solution here is simple — use social media in moderation. Log out and call a friend.

A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 4 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at


  • Marcelo

    Also, Facebook has this amazing feature that allows you to unsubscribe from status updates of any of your friends. Very useful.

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.