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The academic research done by Chou and Edge in 2012 explores the influence of Facebook on people’s perception of each other. The study argued that people that are actively involved on Facebook and people that add a lot of strangers as friends on Facebook perceive the world as less fair and others as generally happier than themselves (Chou, 2012). In order to prove these claims, the study analyzed the Facebook habits of 425 undergraduate students through surveys and questionnaires.
Finally, the study concluded that the way Facebook allows people to post the positive parts of their life yields many to believe that others are living constantly happy lives.
This is seen in Sophie Reynolds’ article, written in 2017, “100 FOLLOWERS BUT 0 FRIENDS”. In this article, Reynolds expounds on her own experiences at UCSD and talks about how social media made her believe others were living fuller lives than her. She explains that the lives of all the people she saw on Facebook warped her perception of life and made her feel more isolated than before (Reynolds, 2017).
She continues, giving the story of Madison Holleran who took her life but showed no signs of mental instability.
Madison Holleran’s story effectively describes the danger of social media in that it isn’t a window into someone’s life, but actually just a showcase of just the good things. Chou and Edge would likely respond to Sherry Turkle’s argument with slight support. Their study explores specifically the effect of Facebook and it does support that people’s perceptions are altered by Facebook.
However, as academic researchers, Chou and Edge would likely be at odds with an alarming majority of Turkle’s claims as most of her statements are unsupported and lack empirical evidence. Chou and Edge would likely agree with Turkle but still ask for research to be done on the claims that she presents. Conversely, Reynolds would likely agree completely with Turkle’s claims. The harmful effects of social media were felt firsthand by Reynolds and as such she would intrinsically support Turkle’s arguments.
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