Side Note


Lonely, anxious narcissists are at high risk of Facebook addiction

Yet more evidence that no one should use Facebook ever.

The point of Facebook, a company whose servers house way too much of the humanity’s personal information, is to keep using Facebook. Facebook knows this, which is why the company keeps trying to expand their user base by giving people free internet, as well as why they look the other way when repressive governments use their platform to mistreat citizens. You know this, which is why you are on a website that isn’t Facebook instead of Facebook (although maybe you found this post because it was on your Facebook feed, in which case, please do not return to Facebook). I know this, which is why I am writing this blog post.

Anyways, part of what makes Facebook great (for Facebook) is that it’s very easy to get sucked into a Facebook wormhole, scrolling and liking and commenting and refreshing until you look up and oh shit three hours have passed. Researchers call this state of zombie-scrolling “Facebook flow,” and it just so happens to be a very strong indicator that a person is at risk of becoming addicted to Facebook. A new study conducted by clinical psychologist Julia Brailovskaia of Ruhr University in Germany has found that not only is falling into Facebook flow a warning sign of Facebook addiction, but that those with anxious and narcissistic personalities who have few real-world relationships are extremely susceptible to succumbing to Facebook flow in the first place.

Writes Brailovskaia (Emphasis mine; quote has been lightly edited for clarity):

[Facebook] members who intensively use Facebook — i.e., frequently visit it, spend there a lot of time, integrate Facebook use in their daily life, and develop an emotional connection to it — seem to experience high values of Facebook flow and are particularly prone to Facebook Addiction Disorder. It can be hypothesized that an additional risk factor to develop FAD occurs when the overlap between the user’s offline and online relationships is small and the amount of the user’s online relationships considerably outweighs the number of offline relationships. This constellation contributes to the development of a strong emotional attachment to Facebook. In the extreme case, the immersion in the online world might become so intensive that the affected individual can no longer recognize the difference between the online and offline world. Considering the close link between attachment styles and addictive social media use, the conclusion is justified that the risk of developing a strong attachment to Facebook is especially high for Facebook members with an anxious attachment style, who often engage in excessive social media use to satisfy their need for approval and positive feedback. In contrast, Facebook users who exhibit a secure attachment style may be less prone to this risk.

So, there you have it. Facebook is basically cocaine for lonely people who want to escape the real world and get fake compliments from their internet friends. Though Brailovskaia’s study is focused specifically on Facebook addiction, let’s go ahead and assume all of this is true for Twitter, too.