Critique of a Text- Does Facebook Makes Us Unhappy?


After searching far and wide on the Internet for a text to critique, I came across something quite fitting to not only my generation but also the course for BCM210. The article I found details differing views on whether Facebook makes us unhappy.

Maria Konnikova from The New Yorker writes the piece How Facebook Makes us Unhappy. Originally, I was quite reluctant on the validity of this article considering it was published by a large news corporation in the US therefore questioned its integrity but was quite surprised by the use of academics throughout the piece. At the bottom of the article it notes that Konnikova has written a bestselling book and also has a Ph.D in Psychology from Columbia. This makes the reader trust what the writer has to say. Konnikova gets her information from psychologist Ethan Kross at the University of Michigan, which from the starts makes her work become instantly credible. She even states how the research process took place.

“Over two weeks, Kross and his colleagues sent text messages to eighty-two Ann Arbor residents five times per day. The researchers wanted to know a few things: how their subjects felt overall, how worried and lonely they were, how much they had used Facebook, and how often they had had direct interaction with others since the previous text message.

By adding such information to the article, Konnikova is creating a research project of her own. She first has come up with a research question and has gathered data. Using the studies she has looked at, she has taken out the hard work of conducting her own primary methodologies. In Kross’ studies, he has asked many qualitative questions to his participants, rather than qualitative. Not only has Konnikova used Kross’ studies to backup her article but has also used many other academics to back up Kross’ conclusion, that Facebook makes people feel unhappy. Again, this enhances the validity of the article.

The view of the article then changes to the opposite viewpoint, which is that Facebook makes us happier. Like the opposing view, Konnikova uses multiple academic works to support this side of the argument, which again creates a stronger argument. In this argument, she doesn’t specifically show the questions the academics were looking at but instead details one of the experiments and its findings.

“As study participants interacted with the site, four electrodes attached to the areas just above their eyebrows and just below their eyes recorded their facial expressions in a procedure known as facial electromyography. When the subjects were actively engaged with Facebook, their physiological response measured a significant uptick in happiness. When they were passively browsing, however, the positive effect disappeared”.

 Personally, I think that this article shows great knowledge in media research. It has many valid academics to make the article a credible piece.

2 thoughts on “Critique of a Text- Does Facebook Makes Us Unhappy?

  1. A very interesting and relevant choice of text to critique! I believe Facebook does make us happy but also unhappy. For example, we find out everything from Facebook nowadays so we can see something on it that can make us happy such as a video of a dog etc. On the other hand however, people today post everything on Facebook as it is a source of validation, if people don’t like or comment on our pictures that can make us unhappy. Do you think Facebook makes us happy or unhappy?

  2. Your analysis of this text is great. I do agree with the text that Facebook makes us unhappy although i am more convinced by the ladder. I feel it somewhat secludes us from the world, looking at what is happening in everyone else’s super exciting lives makes me feel a bit left out but it does increases social trust and engagement. Maybe thats just me? What do you think? There is a significance in Konnikova’s results and it appeals to both sides of the argument. Good text choice.

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