As anyone who uses Facebook knows, different people post updates about different things. There are the ones who post funnies, reposting somebody else’s cartoon of observation. There are the doting parents who post pictures of their kids and babies. Then there are the ranters who show their grudges to others or social situations (I know of one who posts excruciating updates about her life and news of others). I have noticed the funny animal video brigade which always draws a plethora of likes. Then there are the political types, the intellectuals pushing their stuff for all to digest. Let’s not forget the achievers who like us to like them for what they have done from dieting to dating to death-defying stunts. So, is it true that what we post shows who we are?
A new study examines how our personality relates to the type of content we present on Facebook. It turns out that people’s topic choice might tell you as much about them as the content of their posts.
Research has recently revealed that a range of the Big 5 personality traits are at play in the digital world of social interaction.
Which one are you?
- Agreeableness: Warm, cooperative, sympathetic – Generally the traits that help us get along well with others.
- Conscientiousness: Organized, practical, efficient
- Extroversion: Talkative, sociable, bold
- Openness to experience: Intellectual, creative, deep
- Neuroticism: Anxious, moody, jealous
They also examined self-esteem, and narcissism (not clinical narcissism-disorder, merely the personality tendency).
Who posts what?
- Extroverts were more likely to post about social activities and their everyday lives.
- Those high in neuroticism were more likely to use Facebook to seek attention and validation from others.
- Those high in openness were more likely to post updates about their intellectual interests and to use Facebook as a way to find information, with this information-seeking motive explaining their tendency to post about such topics.
- Conscientious individuals were more likely to post updates about their children.
- Surprisingly, agreeableness was unrelated to people’s tendency to post about relationships or social activities.
- Those with low self-esteem were more likely to post updates about their romantic partner and to use Facebook as a means of self-expression (rather than validation).
- Narcissists were more likely to post about their achievements, with such postings being motivated by that desire to get validation. Narcissists were also more likely to post about diet and exercise, perhaps as a way of showing how much they value physical attractiveness.