The Facebook news feed has become an essential component of many people’s daily online activities—a key element to the social media experience. Through the news feed, people now know more about their friends and co-workers lives than ever before. For example, many people may have only really known about a colleague before Facebook through their professional persona and superficially about some of their hobbies. Now, through Facebook, they may see that they travel often to exotic places, or have children with numerous after-school activities, or participate in impressive feats like marathons or triathlons. Or on the flip side, they may find out that these colleagues’ lives outside of work look and feel remarkably like their own. In either case, Facebook has created more awareness of the details of the lives of many of the people in one’s professional and personal network.
I wonder about the consequences of the first scenario that I mentioned; the person who is now cognizant of the busy and active lives that their friends or colleagues may have. Now aware that people in similar life stages as them may be advanced hikers, skiers, bicyclists, or skilled musicians or singers, or parents to children excelling in science fairs or speech and debate competitions, how do they react to this information. Do they
- Get motivated to increase their activity level to be more like their peers?
- Roll their eyes, and internally comment, look at that over-achiever?
- Be unaffected— basically not care or even notice if someone is doing more or less than them?
My hypothesis would be that majority of people don’t at all get affected by viewing more active people than them on their news feed, but I’m much more curious how large the minority of people who actually do change their behavior or care enough to notice and do the proverbial roll of the eyes. Haven’t seen any research on this, will try my own anonymous poll to see if any trends emerge.