While many of us would like to think Facebook and Twitter don’t reflect someone’s real life, in some ways, their status updates say a lot about their personality. We don’t recommend spending hours deciphering posts to determine the personality types of your online friends, but social media updates can provide a quick overview of someone’s character traits. We all find ourselves bored from time to time and use social media as a way to combat that boredom, so you may as well get something out of the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, or other media platforms.
People post about a variety of topics from esoteric musings to job opportunities to a new gadget they bought, and believe it or not, you can tell a lot about a person just by what they decide to share on their social media accounts.
What you choose to share on social media reflects alot about what kind of persona you’d like to create online, and different types of status updates suggest different personality traits.
Here’s what your social media updates say about your personality:
Have you ever wondered what prompts a person to post a photo of their hubby vs an update about the nature of our existence?
Well, this study in the “Journal of Personality of Individual Differences” reveals everything you’ve ever wanted to know about status updates and personality types.
Researchers Tara Marshall, Katharina Lefringhausen, and Nelli Ferenczi studied the effects of an individual’s self-esteem, levels of narcissism and the Big Five personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness) on their status updates, and found pretty interesting results.
They also formed conclusions about the purpose of these posts, whether the user wanted attention and acceptance, an outlet for self-expression, or the ability to communicate information on their channel or webpage.
In order to come up with the results, the researchers first categorized the topics that people post about on Facebook: social activities and everyday life (social activities, something funny that happened to them, everyday activities, pets, sporting events), intellectual thoughts (views on politics, current events, research/science), achievements (achieving goals, their own creative output, accomplishments, anything work or school related), diet and exercise, children and feelings about their relationship.
After this step, the researchers then gave 555 Facebook users (59 percent female and 41 percent male) tests to measure their levels of self-esteem and narcissism, as well as their levels of the Big Five personality traits.
They also asked the participants how often they used Facebook, how many “likes” they usually got on their status updates and how frequently they posted about the topics listed above.
After crunching the numbers, the researchers began to notice a pattern regarding what types of status updates people made, and what type of personality they had.
Not surprisingly, the study found that posts about social activities, life, and achievements received the most likes and comments, and posts about deep thoughts and intellectual ideas received the least amount.
While this certainly seems a bit shallow and superficial, it makes sense when we think about the general population. Most people want to congratulate someone on an achievement or connect with them socially, but many people shy away from debates and deep topics.
For instance, talking about politics or religion in an opinionated way on your Facebook might deter people from engaging with you at all, depending on the words used and the context of the subject matter. Strong viewpoints on Facebook make people shy away because they generally don’t want to get involved in a discussion or feel singled out if they have a different view than everyone else on the thread.
Now, onto the Big Five. This portion of the study perhaps revealed the most interesting results about personality and status updates.
Also, according to the study, people who have lower self-esteem have a tendency to post updates about their romantic relationship “as a way of laying claim to their relationship when it feels threatened.”
On the opposite side of the coin, the narcissists among us enjoy posting status updates about achievements in order to receive validation, which proves “consistent with narcissists’ tendency to boast in order to gain attention.”
People high in narcissism also tend to post about their diet and exercise routine, but for the purpose of self-expression.
This suggests that narcissists might post about their health regimen in order “to express the personal importance they place on physical appearance.”
Extroverted people generally post more about social activities and everyday life as a way of connecting with others.
Neurotic people have a tendency to post updates for validation and to “seek the attention and support that they lack offline.”
People who enjoy new experiences and have an open mind generally use Facebook to share intellectual ideas and post their opinions about topics in order to share information.
People high in conscientiousness write more frequently about their children to communicate and share information, perhaps in “an indirect form of competitive parenting.”
While the study might not reflect everyone’s habits on social media, it does provide some insight into people’s general personality traits, and what types of statuses each personality might post on social media accounts.