If you tend to mention or post photos of alcohol on Facebook, you’re likely to have more Facebook friends — at least if you’re a college-age man.
That’s what a recent study, to be published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, suggests. Researchers Katie Egan and Megan Moreno studied the profiles of 225 male undergraduates from a university, with an average age of 19, and found that 85% of the profiles contained at least one reference to alcohol.
Perhaps that’s because alcohol is associated with social events. But Dr. Gregory Elliot, a Sociology Professor at Brown University, said that if people spend too much time shaping their follower’s perception of them on Facebook rather than making connections in the real world, they’re probably suffering from social anxiety.
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“They (alcohol and Facebook) both can be traced back to some internal feeling of incompleteness,” he said. Elliot also said that since Facebook was like a window into the life of their peers, that there are “unanticipated unhappy consequences from social media.”
Professor Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together, refers to “presentation anxiety,” and argues that teenagers increasingly feel pressured to constantly update their Facebook profiles.
The study is of particular concern to those wanting to prevent collegiate alcohol abuse, and suggests that the media is gaining prominence over traditional peer influence. “Widespread alcohol displays on Facebook may influence social norms and cause increases in male college students’ alcohol use,” the researchers said.
But Facebook probably affects adults even more. Students who were of legal drinking age referenced alcohol 4.5 times more than underage students.
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