Social media: its connection with education, donations and well-being


A study by OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) says, highly educated Germans are less likely to use social media. On the other hand, in many OECD countries including the UK, Portugal, Greece and Turkey, the use of social media rises with higher education. You can see details of the study in this DW article.


A study by Sauder School of Business finds envy to be a key motivator behind Facebook posts.

And when envy is the motivating force, you can well understand that engaging on Facebook does contribute to a decrease in mental well-being. It is not us, but the study itself infers.

Researchers say, Facebook leads its users to feel that their lives are less fulfilled in comparison to others and that leads to the cycle of envy and self-importance, and then its impact on their happiness. This seems to happen mostly as people try to show-off their bigger than life images on the social media (e.g. photos of a perfect vacation in an exotic location). 

The study was conducted on about 1200 Facebook users in a German university.


Another rather uncharitable comment on Facebook comes from the same institution. A study shows that when people show public support for charities on social media, they are less likely to donate for the cause later on. 

The social media support seems to work against charities though they might feel that going social in a big way attracts donors to them and prompts them to donate.

However, it is not only related to social media. Whenever people were given an option to show token support (e.g. by pinning a flag on shirt), they were found less likely participants to provide meaningful support later. However, when they had to show the token support confidentially, their urge to contribute didn't lessen. Both these suggest that people's urge to be seen doing good is satisfied when they publicly support the cause by way of tokens including Facebook 'like'. 

One of the researcher says, If charities run public token campaigns under the belief that they lead to meaningful support, they may be sacrificing their precious resources in vain...If the goal is to generate real support, public facing social media campaigns may be a mistake.