Recently I tried to persuade a friend, a professional woman in her 40s, to create a Facebook account. Like many people, I’m a regular user, usually to post photos and updates of my daughter’s sports and academic accomplishments — and to keep track of friends and family. But my friend believed Facebook would drain her time. She said that if she couldn’t maintain friendships in the real world, she wasn’t interested in keeping up with the small details of people’s lives.
There has been a lot of scholarship devoted to the study of Facebook, sparking debate about the mental health and personality traits of frequent users. Most recently, research from Western Illinois University suggested, like other studies before it, that Facebook appeals to our most narcissistic tendencies. The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, asked 292 people to answer questions aimed at measuring how self-involved they were.
Those who frequently updated their Facebook status, tagged themselves in photos and had large numbers of virtual friends, were more likely to exhibit narcissistic traits, the study found. Another study found that people with high levels of narcissism were more likely to spend more than an hour a day on Facebook, and they were also more likely to post digitally enhanced personal photos. But what the research doesn’t answer is whether Facebook attracts narcissists or turns us into them.
Last month, a study of 233 Facebook-using college students by researchers at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the University of Hartford took a different approach. Were the students primarily writing self-promoting status updates? Or were they interested in others, clicking “likes” and posting comments on friends’ pages? How many Facebook friends did they collect?
In addition to measuring narcissism (Do you like being the center of attention or blending in with the crowd?), the researchers also measured a student’s sense of privacy. (Do you share information with a wide circle of friends or value your privacy?) The researchers found, to their surprise, that frequency of Facebook use, whether it was for personal status updates or to connect with friends, was not associated with narcissism. Narcissism per se was associated with only one type of Facebook user — those who amassed unrealistically large numbers of Facebook friends.
Instead, frequent Facebook users were more likely to score high on “openness” and were less concerned about privacy. So what seems like self-promoting behavior may just reflect a generation growing up in the digital age, where information — including details about personal lives — flows freely and connects us.
“It’s a huge oversimplification to say Facebook is for narcissists,” said Lynne Kelly, director of the school of communication at the University of Hartford and one of the study’s authors. “You share information about yourself on Facebook as a way to maintain relationships.”
The social medium of choice for the self-absorbed appears to be Twitter. The researchers found an association between tweeting about oneself and high narcissism scores. That finding alone, I think, is worth tweeting about.
Author:Kelly Olsen Phone: 201-669-7520 Dated: May 18th 2012 Views: 1,028 About Kelly: Kelly brings an element of enthusiasm and energy to the Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team that is am...
The Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team is one of the premier real estate teams in NJ. Consistently ranked in the top 100 teams in the country, our motto is treat every client like they are your only client. Give us a call and let us show you what we can do for you!
A fab new store just opened in Morristown, Lucy's Gift Boutique!
"For Gordon Crawford:
Helped me buy a home
Gordon has helped me buy and sell several properties over the last ten years, with my most recent purchase in 12/2011 in Morris Township. I am always blown away by the expert advice that Gordon and his team bring to these transactions, and the excellent referrals to various specialty contractors that they have given me over the years. And of course, Gordon is a great guy and a lot of fun to work with!"