Mark Zuckerberg probably had no idea that the social media juggernaut he created would one day be the stage on which countless women's gender-specific insecurity and anxiety would play out for researchers to pick apart and analyze.
In 2011 alone, Facebook research (in academic and non-academic settings) has concluded the following:
- Women's perfectly crafted Facebook profiles are social media camouflage for the sad interiors of their empty lives. Even though women say they "Like" something on Facebook, chances are their hearts are crying out "Dislike! Disliiiiike!."
- Eighty-five percent of women on Facebook have been "annoyed by friends online." Media interpretation? Ack! Women hate all their Facebook friends!
- Women post far more photos of themselves on Facebook because they desperately need a self-esteem boost, whereas men get their ego trips from real world competition (and posting photos of themselves draped in medals).
- Since women get so gosh darned worked up about Facebook, they're more prone to Facebook-induced anxiety, termed neurotic limbo.
Obviously, I'm glossing over the nuances of these findings for the most part, but the message remains the same: Facebook brings out the worst in women. Yet where are the men in all of these studies? Yes, women make up a majority of Facebook users, but I have just as many male friends who clog up my feed with unnecessary updates as over-sharing female friends.
And while women might be going walnuts on Facebook, let's not forget that men are getting weird on the Web as well. A Harvard Business School study found that men spend more time Facebook stalking women they don't know than looking at profiles of women they've actually met. Creepy!
So while the media continue to churn out headlines on how Facebook and women are the ultimate frenemies, just remember: it's clearly driving all of us at least a little bit insane.