What Your Facebook Status Updates Say About Your Personality

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You may not know it, but how often you post on facebook, what you post about? Says alot personality. Atleast that’s what this study says.

A new research conducted by Psychologists at Brunel University London, surveyed Facebook users to examine the personality traits and motives that influence majority of the topics they choose to write about in their status updates.

What Facebook status update Says About Your PersonalityImage credit: Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The data was collected from 555 Facebook users who completed online surveys measuring the ‘Big Five’ personality traits.

  • Extroversion
  • Neuroticism
  • Openness
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness — as well as self-esteem and narcissism.

The research found that::

  • People with low self-esteem more frequently posted status updates about their current romantic partner.
  • Narcissists more frequently updated about their achievements, which was motivated by their need for attention and validation from the Facebook community. These updates also received a greater number of ‘likes’ and comments, indicating that narcissists’ boasting may be reinforced by the attention they crave.
  • Narcissists also wrote more status updates about their diet and exercise routine, suggesting that they use Facebook to broadcast the effort they put into their physical appearance.
  • Conscientiousness was associated with writing more updates about one’s children.
  • “…extraverts more frequently updated about their social activities and everyday life, which was motivated by their use of Facebook to communicate and connect with others.
  • People high in openness were more likely to update about intellectual topics, consistent with their use of Facebook for sharing information.” (Marshall et al., 2015).

Psychology lecturer Dr Tara Marshall, from Brunel University London, 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. People who receive more likes and comments tend to experience the benefits of social inclusion, whereas those who receive none feel ostracised.

“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. 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.”

The research team said further studies should examine responses to particular status update topics, the likeability of those who update about them, and whether certain topics put people at greater risk of being unfriended.



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Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.
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