Elizabeth Bernstein’s article in the October 1st Wall Street Journal entitled “Why We Are So Rude Online” discusses an interesting phenomenon.
Even on sites where people cannot hide behind screen names, such as on Facebook where everything you post is in your own name or that of a Page you own, many people are much ruder than they would probably be face-to-face.
Yet at the same time I personally find that many people are much more polite than they might be face-to-face. These politer people are quick to post “thank you” when someone posts something nice about them, words that are frequently not spoken in person.
What I do not agree with in Bernstein’s article is the soon-to-be-published research from professors at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh that proves “browsing Facebook lowers our self control.”
The following is some of the research reported in Bernstein’s article that supports the above statement:
The researchers conducted a series of five studies. In one, they asked 541 Facebook users how much time they spent on the site and how many close friends they had in their Facebook networks. They also asked about their offline lives, including questions about their debt and credit-card usage, their weight and eating habits and how much time they spent socializing in person each week.
People who spent more time online and who had a high percentage of close ties in their network were more likely to engage in binge eating and to have a greater body mass index, as well as to have more credit-card debt and a lower credit score, the research found. Another study found that people who browsed Facebook for five minutes and had strong network ties were more likely to choose a chocolate-chip cookie than a granola bar as a snack.
The most valuable course I took when I got an M.B.A. at Wharton was statistics. This was not because I learned how important statistics are, but because I learned how you can prove anything “statistically” depending on how you set up your research experiment.
The Facebook study result comparing preference for a chocolate-chip cookie instead of a granola bar is just funny to me. This really “proves” that “browsing Facebook lowers our self control”?
I understand that college professors have to publish. But I suggest they run experiments on topics that can add to human valuation instead of making a mockery of social interaction.
© 2012 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com
She is also the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. A new nonfiction ebook of hers is TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK and her newest fiction ebook is the thriller CIA FALL GUY.
Click here to visit her Amazon author page at amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller