“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This thought, stated by one of the participants of this research, sums up the findings of this study.
Facebook is part of more than 890 million user’ daily routines, and the majority of what is posted everyday can be considered a happy or positive post, which is a post related to positive emotional outcomes. This research intends to show the close relationship between Facebook and happiness. The goals are explaining what benefits people get from posting a positive even of their lives on Facebook, and also how Facebook friends feel when they are exposed to these happy posts. The study, supported by Uses and Gratifications theory, consists of a thematic analysis of positive Facebook posts, followed by interviews with 10 Pittsburg State University students.
Findings from the thematic analysis showed eight categories emerging among the positive posts on Facebook: engagements, parties, relaxation, trips, shopping, grades, thanks and blessings, and selfies.
Findings from the interviews proved that after being exposed to the happy posts participants developed feelings of jealousy, insatisfaction, anxiety, and competition. Nine in 10 interviewees also answered that they could not graduate and not post anything on Facebook. According to the interviews, in general, people feel the need of showing only the happy side of their lives on Facebook. Also, an important event doesn’t have the same impact if it is not made public on Facebook, which explains the comparison with the tree that falls in the forest with nobody there to hear it.
Vita, Valquiria and Triplett, Shirley Drew, "Facebook and Happiness: Life in a Frame" (2015). Paper Presentations. 5.