We all get irritated when our Facebook feeds clog up with smug couples gloating about their wonderful relationships. Even worse are those people who feel the need to tell everyone about their strenuous gym sessions or share snaps of their super-healthy lunches. But new research has revealed that people who post status updates about their romantic partners have low self-esteem – while fitness freaks are big-heads. Here’s what your Facebook activity says about your personality.
1. A psychological study
Psychologists at Brunel University in London surveyed Facebook users to see what their status updates said about them. Their study of 555 people who completed online surveys measuring the ‘Big Five’ personality traits – extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness – unveiled some surprising results.
2. How what you share reveals how you really feel
While people who boast about their love lives are more insecure, gym-addicts and health nuts are typically narcissists. The research examined the personality traits and motives that influence the topics people choose to write about in their status updates – something that few studies have explored before.
3. Too good to be true
People with low self-esteem more frequently post status updates about their current romantic partner.
4. Attention needy
Narcissists more frequently post about their achievements, which is motivated by their “need for attention and validation from the Facebook community.”
5. Bragging rights
These updates also receive a greater number of likes and comments, suggesting that narcissists’ boasting may be reinforced by the attention they crave.
6. “I’m Sexy and I Know it”
Narcissists also write more status updates about their diet and exercise routines, suggesting they use Facebook to broadcast the effort they put into how they look.
7. The need to be noticed
Those with neurotic personalities provided personal updates, but they craved validation, the study noted.
8. Please comment
Some people feel compelled to ask for input or advice from others before making a decision. Those who frequently reach out to their social media community are trying the age-old method of using a village to raise a child, so to speak.
People who post frequent and open commentary on their lives may be lonely, in need of attention or simply bored. They don’t realize when their over-sharing is less than appreciated.
10. Why do people post what they do?
Brunel University psychology lecturer Dr Tara Marshall said: “It might come as little surprise that Facebook status updates reflect people’s personality traits. “However, it is important to understand why people write about certain topics on Facebook because their updates may be differentially rewarded with likes and comments.”
11. Are you in or out?
Dr Marshall added: “People who receive more likes and comments tend to experience the benefits of social inclusion, whereas those who receive none feel ostracised.”
12. Why do we support those who irritate us?
She said what we have all been secretly thinking – while we may physically click ‘like’ on a bragging pal’s Facebook update, we’re secretly annoyed by it.
13. It’s all your fault
Dr Marshall said: “Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays.
14. Why likes matter
What you ‘like’ on Facebook has even been studied. In previous findings, researchers have suggested that you are a sum of what you ‘like.’ You may not be joining your acquaintance on that trip to Bali, or to the free brewery tour, but your ‘likes’ are a collection of what you are or what you’d like to be.
15. Be aware of what you post
“Greater awareness of how one’s status updates might be perceived by friends could help people to avoid topics that annoy more than they entertain.”