Last week, an article entitled Facebook Lurking Can Make You Feel Miserable, According to Study made a very credible claim that people who spend an hour on Facebook per day (the national average) have more of a tendency toward depression than those who spend 5 minutes per day or less on the site. Some people, many of them teens, may spend many hours on the site, addictively checking their “Likes” and their friends’ feeds.

The study found that Facebook lurking (reading without interacting) leads to depression because we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. Whether we think they are doing better or worse than we are, these comparisons still lead to depression. (How can they not when we are constantly checking on our friends’ updates?) And here’s the rub: We convince ourselves that we will feel better after using Facebook, whereas the opposite is true. Rather than be uplifted by a sense of connection, most people experience a sense of having wasted time.

The study showed that decreasing Facebook use, and staying away from browsing sections that invoke envy, can cause positive changes for people who were experiencing depression.

Facebook users were more at risk of depression if they displayed the following:

  • Felt envy after observing others
  • Accepted former partners as Facebook friends
  • Made negative social comparisons
  • Made frequent negative status updates

If you’re a LinkedIn user, why subject yourself to this risk when there’s another option? Here’s why I think you would do better to spend your time on LinkedIn:

  1. LinkedIn is unlikely to be a waste of time. If you are on LinkedIn, you are almost certainly building your networks or learning something valuable about your industry. You are unlikely to be watching cat videos, looking at gorgeous photographs of places you will never visit, or getting sucked into political conversations. And you only need to spend 20 minutes a day!
  1. It’s safer to accept invitations from former partners on LinkedIn. You will not be subjected to updates on their love lives or news about how well they are doing socially without you. While you might experience a twinge upon an announcement of an old partner’s new job, I believe it pales in comparison with what you might feel looking at their Facebook feed.
  1. If you’re feeling jealous of other people’s jobs, at least you can do something about it. LinkedIn is designed so that if someone you know gets a job you want, you can reach out to them and talk about how they did it. Maybe you’ll get tips on how to reach that goal yourself! LinkedIn encourages this type of interaction rather than encouraging you to stew in a jealous mire.
  1. You’ll learn about relevant topics on LinkedIn rather than have to wade through streams of irrelevant postings. By joining groups on LinkedIn, you can ensure that you receive posts that relate to your fields of interest. You can also manage the information that comes through your LinkedIn news feed (although come aspects of this feature are under construction). As per LinkedIn, you can customize your feed on desktop and the mobile app by hiding updates from your connections, unfollowing connections and companies, and discovering new content.
  1. You’re unlikely to become “addicted” to LinkedIn. You’ll be able to accomplish what you set out to accomplish on the site, get it done, and move on with your life.
  1. Time on LinkedIn is time invested in yourself and your career. It is an exercise in creating opportunities. Every post you publish, well-considered connection you make, and conversation you engage in on LinkedIn creates visibility for you in your professional network. Whatever your career or business goals, this is good news. And Facebook can hardly claim that.

One note of caution: Even LinkedIn is not a good place to be late at night. Nighttime use of social media has been linked to sleep problems in many studies. So take care of your LinkedIn activity during daytime or early evening hours!

What do you think? Are you ready to trade in your addictive Facebook behavior for some more constructive social media time? I’d love to hear your thoughts (and plans) below.






  1. I couldn’t agree more. I have been saying this for years. Although sadly, even at my age, taking time off from Facebook, or not participating as much, is often viewed as a sign that you are isolating yourself. If you’re not posting events and updates on Facebook you must not be doing anything. So silly!

  2. I totally agree with your article. I have walked away from Facebook on a personal level; however, I do use it to promote my business design ideas or connections. Facebook can prove to be a very valuable tool if used to constructively connect with those of like interest and vocation. However, I have drawn the conclusion that FACEBOOK is nothing more than Fake News, for the most part, used to tell the world “look at me” (not for all) but for some who want you to believe that their life is superb; and it may be – but it also shows that something is seriously lacking if you have to continuously remind people how great you are – through selfies after selfies after selfies and tours of your personal space or living quarters which is really frightening to me. Even some very successful artist would not do that – they realize the danger. Anyway, yes, your article is very propelling and I feel for those who waste timeless hours – comparing themselves to others when they should be happy with whom they are and where they are in life and if they are not happy with that – CHANGE IT!!!!!

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