“Think of it as a licensing effect: You feel good about yourself so you feel a sense of entitlement,” Wilcox told The Wall Street Journal. Essentially, individuals want to protect their “enhanced view” of the world, he states. Hence why occasionally, people post comments on Facebook they would probably never say aloud. On the flip side, a Utah Valley University study from 2011 found that the longer college students surfed Facebook, the worse they felt about their own lives. So whose research is right? How can self-esteem both rise and plummet via the same social networking platform?
While both studies make different points, the information from Utah found that users who didn’t personally know their Facebook “friends” very well believed that “others had better lives,” leading to lower self-esteem. In Wilcox and Stephen’s study, their main research stems from those Facebook users who are interacting with “strong ties,” or close friends. According to their work, these more intimate interactions lead to an elevated self-esteem.