Title: The Happiness Effect
Author: Donna Freitas
Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publishing date: 1st February, 2017
My Rating: 2/5 stars
*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Sexting. Cyberbullying. Narcissism. Social media has become the dominant force in young people’s lives, and each day seems to bring another shocking tale of private pictures getting into the wrong hands, or a lament that young people feel compelled to share their each and every thought with the entire world.
Have smartphones and social media created a generation of self-obsessed egomaniacs?
Absolutely not, Donna Freitas argues in this provocative book. And, she says, these alarmist fears are drawing attention away from the real issues that young adults are facing.
Drawing on a large-scale survey and interviews with students on thirteen college campuses, Freitas finds that what young people are overwhelmingly concerned with–what they really want to talk about–is happiness. They face enormous pressure to look perfect online–not just happy, but blissful, ecstatic, and fabulously successful. Unable to achieve this impossible standard, they are anxious about letting the less-than-perfect parts of themselves become public. Far from wanting to share everything, they are brutally selective when it comes to curating their personal profiles, and worry obsessively that they might unwittingly post something that could come back to haunt them later in life. Through candid conversations with young people from diverse backgrounds, Freitas reveals how even the most well-adjusted individuals can be stricken by self-doubt when they compare their experiences with the vast collective utopia that they see online. And sometimes, as on anonymous platforms like Yik Yak, what they see instead is a depressing cesspool of racism and misogyny. Yet young people are also extremely attached to their smartphones and apps, which sometimes bring them great pleasure. It is very much a love-hate relationship.
While much of the public’s attention has been focused on headline-grabbing stories, the everyday struggles and joys of young people have remained under the radar. Freitas brings their feelings to the fore, in the words of young people themselves. The Happiness Effect is an eye-opening window into their first-hand experiences of social media and its impact on them.
The synopsis already talks a lot about what’s in the book, so I am going to skip that part and focus on how this book turned out.
This book is a result of a lot of research and with that the author has done a good job of presenting us with her research.I loved reading the interview parts because you can see from where the author is coming from, what actually she focused on. She talks about the conclusion she drew from the research.
One of my problems with research based books that focus on a single topic is that there is a lot of repetitiveness and this book is no exception. Reading the same thing again and again in different forms can be boring and that’s what I found some parts to be.
It sure is insightful on how some of the kids these day feel, focus on “some” because the large percentage of people I know in person don’t resonate with the idea of this book because these things like being jealous of other people’s life, wanting to appear happy and successful, wanting to appear perfect, etc has been a part of many people’s emotions prior to the existence of social media, social media is just another way for them to be all out about how they feel. With social media it just gets easy for them to detect it. It’s nothing that I haven’t read about before, so it was an okay read for me.
Why would I pick it up?
For the social media approval cravers, to make them read and understand.