Review: The Happiness Effect

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Do our smart phones and social media make us happy? We certainly find it difficult to be without them. This is one  of the questions Donna Freitas examines in her book The Happiness Effect, available February 2017.

 

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I have personally said many times that I’m very glad that I grew up prior to smart phones and social media. My early 20s were pretty socially care free, knowing that none of my worst moments would turn up to haunt me on a website that my colleagues, employers and parents could see.

These days it seems that every moment is recorded and posted somewhere. It seems as though it’s not enough to do something, but there is also a need to record it and look amazing while doing it.

Freitas interviews a wide variety of US college students to see what they think about it social media, how they use it and the impact it has on their lives. Her findings are very interesting.

It seems that for the most part people are aware that others only record and share their perfect moments,  creating an online version of their life that looks perfect from the outside. Despite knowing this, a lot of students were made to feel insecure and inferior by the perfect life their peers shared online.

Young people also seem very aware of keeping their online presence employer friendly, and would ensure that anything untoward was not posted on their Facebook pages. One girl went to the extreme of managing 17 (!) groups of friends with whom she would share only specific aspects of her life.

This book is a very interesting look at social media and the way it is used by young people, and how it effects the way they view themselves, others and the world around them.

4 out of 5 smiley faces.

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