Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" This thought, stated during one of the interviews of this research, sums up the findings of this study. Facebook is part of more than 890 million users’ daily routines, and the majority of what is posted everyday can be considered a happy, or a positive post, which is a post related to positive emotional outcomes. This research intends to show the close relationship between Facebook and happiness. The goal is to explain what benefits people get from posting a positive event of their lives on Facebook, and also how Facebook friends feel when they see these happy posts. The study, supported by Uses and Gratifications theory, consists in 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 supported that after being exposed to the happy posts, participants developed feelings of jealousy, dissatisfaction, anxiety, competition, and the feeling that “everybody else is doing better”. Nine in 10 interviewees answered that they need to post when something really important happens to them, like graduation, for example. According to the interviews’ findings, in the majority of time, people need to show only the happy side of their lives on Facebook, and an important event doesn’t have the same impact if it is not posted on Facebook (which explains the comparison with tree that falls in the forest without anybody there to hear it).

Included in

Communication Commons



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