Facebook is used mostly by narcissists and those with low self-esteem, says a Canadian study.
These type of people use Facebook as a self-promotional tool, says psychology researcher Soraya Mehdizadeh of York University.
Mehdizadeh, who extensively examined the online habits and personalities of 100 Facebook users aged 18 to 25 years old, found that individuals higher in narcissism and lower in self-esteem spent more time on the site and filled their pages with more self-promotional content.
"We all know people like this. They are updating their status every five minutes and the photos they post are very carefully construed," she says.
"The question is, are these really accurate representations of the individual or are they merely a projection of who the individual wants to be?"
Mehdizadeh says she was struck by the fact that those with lower self-esteem were more apt to use this social networking tool.
As part of her research, she examined five features of participants' Facebook pages for self-promotion: the 'about me' section, the main photo, the first 20 pictures on the 'view photos of me' section, notes, and status updates.
Describing self-promotion by Facebook users as any descriptive or visual information that attempted to persuade others about one's own positive qualities, Mehdizadeh assessed facial expression (striking a pose or making a face) and picture enhancement (using photo editing software) in the main photo and 'view photos of me' sections.
Further, she examined the use of positive adjectives, self-promoting mottos, and metaphorical quotes in the 'about me' section. Self-promotion in the notes section could include posting results from Facebook applications including 'my celebrity look-alikes,' which compares a photo of the user to celebrities, or vain online quiz results.
After this, she used the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale to measure participants' self-esteem. Narcissism was assessed by using the Narcissism Personality Inventory, according to a university release.
From the gender perspective, Mehdizadeh says she found that men displayed more self-promotional content in the 'about me' and notes sections, whereas women demonstrated more self-promotion in the main photo section.
"I thought this was an interesting way to apply theoretical paradigms in psychology to online self-presentation, which is still a fairly new concept," says the Canadian researcher.
"I believe the next question to be answered is whether or not the use of such websites could be used to improve one's self-esteem and overall sense of well-being. This sort of finding may have great implications in the lives of the socially anxious or depressed,'' according to the researcher.
The study has been published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
what are your views on above study?
The arrogance of assuming she is right - before peer review and consideration is unwarranted. I can think of a few holes in her study that could do with a good looking at. Extensively studying 100 subjects is ok - but what criteria did she use to select them, maybe they were just her friends ?
Her criteria was the 18 to 25 age group and if you ask me, she's got it right. I have a 15 year old and a 20 year old and as a result spend a lot of time with kids in that age range, and you don't need a scientific study to get that they are insecure and narcissistic. You just have to spend some time with them.
I am not saying that she isn't right, I am just pointing out that her study has not been out there long enough for her to assume that it is right. And it is not the issue itself it is her reasons for the traits she finds that can be questioned.
My post was a 'wry' comment, a kind of vague joke around the idea that somebody in a study can pronounce others as naracissistic etc, while showing the same traits themselves. A bit like the sick joke of 'missionaries' going to other cultures and calling the religions of the people they find there barbaric - and a reason to kill them.
what a crock.
facebook users use facebook to connect with family and close friends and reconnect with old friends and associates. we post pictures of our lives, our children, etc. to share that with them. how is that being narcissistic? how does she know they all have low self-esteem? 100 people out of the millions who do use facebook on a regular basis.
As someone who doesn't use Facebook at all, I'm amused by the above.
I think Facebook is definitely used for promotion (aka business fan pages). On a personal level, it is probably used by a lot of people who are introverts in real life - online gives them more confidence to be outgoing, without the fear of in real life interaction.
The sample is very small compare to the millions who are members of facebook, we cant make a generalization out of that. These are young adults and they still need identity.
Yes the sample is to small to generalize the conclusions that she has drawn, other factors like cultural, demographic , social and other factors do play a role.
If all her subjects have been concentrated in some small pocket as chinaman suggested her friends then it could be some very skewed findings.
She may have a point, the age group she has studied may have some characteristics that she suggests, she may need to have good research methodology to have it published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
But I still do doubt her conclusion and generalization based on her pitifully small, sample size.
Agreed. I make 'use' of Facebook but only to get folks to come here and my blogs.
I find this study to be quite interesting....If the results are accurate, what is it saying about the world?
There are plenty of holes. The first is the age range. Maybe 18-25 year olds are generally more self centred? It takes many people longer to experience life and realize other people are important, too.
We need a study of the habits of a internet social networking site to tell us that 18-25 year olds are self absorbed and narcissistic?
Ummm, they have been for many generations already.
The ONLY real difference here is the social networking can be used as a more far reaching positive or negative self promotive tool to others on their personal networks.
What'd you do, take my answer and put it through a content spinner?
Well there you go Jase, you're right on this one... I see a lot of protest here, but the fact of the matter is, and I know this because my daughter falls right into that demographic, 18 to 25 years olds are out there on facebook to see and be seen. The group slected isn't 50 year olds looking to get back in touch with long lost relatives... it's kids, (18 to 25) looking to hook up, and to look good to other kids and anybody else whose attention they can get.
I agree to some extent. I know friends who judge self-worth based on how many Facebook friends they have, but I still think most people use it solely for the purpose of keeping in touch and connecting with people they care about. There's nothing wrong with that.
I just hope that nobody takes that journal seriously.
I have problems with putting pictures on there, call it self-concious if you want. Everyone is a at least a little self-concious.
The reason most people have low self esteem on facebook is because they communicate through it rather than face to face. They don't get the people skills they need. It is much easier to talk through a computer, especially gamers, and kids who aren't as popular.
Just a side note.
HP did a very smart thing by adding the facebook button to our hubs. I suspect that most of us are getting additional traffic as a result.
I've seen no evidence of that so far.
Although three to four people may care to differ.
Facebook really isn’t showing up on your traffic source page?
possibly for the people who spend their entire day and night there or obsessively updating statuses, but even with the age group mentioned, it wouldn't be true for all of them.
actually I've seen more intelligent debate between my sons and friends than I see here in the political/religious forums! they don't attack each other, they discuss.
as anything, it can't be true for all.
I've noticed that facebook users are always trying to "save face" so if that's low self-esteem . . .
Another study that wasted more resources, so as to provide more irrelevant information to the masses.
I would say approximately at least 2/3 of the world's population has self-esteem issues of some sort.
Simple reason: 2/3 are religious and require a god to support their life.
Now that's freaking funny!
Are you sure of that? Or are you spouting hopefulness?
Either way, it doesn't matter. I was just drawing a reference to many people who lack the ability to maintain their own self esteem and need to believe in a god, in order to.
I don't buy this study.
She discovered that some kids of this age are narcissistic?
She discovered nothing new.
Every religious nut in the country fits her profile better than the kids would, and as someone said, that's 2/3 of the population.
What a waste of time!
Also to take a broad swipe at this age group only displays her ignorance of kids today.
Are the results of this study actually being taken seriously?
Any idiot knows the results can't be conclusive if only 100 out of millions have been studied, and then only the 18 - 25-year-olds. That can't possibly represent 'most Facebook users'.
My thoughts exactly.......I think there is probably a lot of truth in this survey, however considering that tens of millions use fb, a study only using a 100 18-25 year olds does seem rather narrow if not laughable. Anyway why would you need to do a study on this, wouldn't anybody who uses any medium to contact other people talk themselves up rather than down?
fb is here for whatever you want it to be, personally I have made some good contacts on here and my thoughts about fb without having to do an "in depth survey" are: you have to trawl through 95% of s**t to discover the 5% worth looking for....lol....ON A SELF PROMOTIONAL NOTE: This survey was brought to you by FRED FREDDY, it took him 5 minutes not 5 weeks and required NO funding.....
I think it depends on how you use the site. I don't understand all the people out there with hundreds of 'friends', and perhaps some of them fit into the narcissistic category.
But this really doesn't seem like sound sience to me. Especially coupled with the assertions made. Testing a single age group is just plain odd, and clearly not representative of users as a whole. Are the conclusions of the study true? Impossible to say. As far as I'm concerned it's still just a hypothesis.
I don't know... A whole lot of Facebook users are in the early twenties and under set. A good percentage of people in that age range lead toward the "narcissistic side" (maybe particularly for this generation of young people). If the study is accurate, I predict a lot of those apparent narcissists will outgrow it.
Another point may be, though, that for today's generation (especially of young people), things like posting pictures and doing the whole "self-promotion" thing are just part of what "everyone else" does. There's the whole social aspect to the Internet (and Facebook). I came of age long before there was an Internet and all this socializing that goes on; and yet - look at me - I'm online writing, doing the things that people who write online do (like listing personal experiences, background, etc. etc. because it's what online writers do if they want to do the stuff "everyone else" (other online writers) do. We all hear that things like profiles can make a difference in followers or traffic (etc.)
What people do in any era changes, and what's considered "normal" or average changes a good part of the time. When it comes to something so directly and uniquely tied to socializing (and there's never been anything like the Internet before), I'm not sure yesterday's psychology measurements and standards can be applied either.
I set up a Facebook page because "everyone says" online writers ought to have one. I didn't put all that self-promotion kind of stuff on it (except to "self-promote" by putting links to my latest writing). As a result, my Facebook page looks like a weird string of links to my own articles, with nothing else on it and a few "friends" who somehow ended up on there. The only way to make it not look weird would be for me to add the usual personal stuff and pictures to it. So, it's almost like, "If you're going to have Facebook account at all, you have to add the stuff that "everyone else" adds."
Besides, the world is kind of divided into "people who aren't self-confident" and "people who are as self-confident as everyone else is". I'd assume that's pretty much the mix that ends up on Facebook. Throw in that in the offline world a whole lot of people have something to sell, and that accounts for another bunch of what seems like self promotion but is really just business promotion.
I agree and disagree with her findings. People, who go on updating their status every hour are indeed of low self esteem but there are pple who use Fb as mode of interaction which does not mean they are narci's or suffer from low self esteem.
The study doesn't say Facebook users have low self esteem, it says the proportion of facebook users that do have low self-esteem use the service more intensely and in a self-promotional way. Totally different thing.
It would be like saying because internet users who use porn spennd (on average) more time online and prefer porn, all internet users just want porn.
I think there is probably a lot of truth in this survey, however considering that tens of millions use fb, a study only using a 100 18-25 year olds does seem rather narrow if not laughable. Anyway why would you need to do a study on this, wouldn't anybody who uses any medium to contact other people talk themselves up rather than down?
fb is here for whatever you want it to be, personally I have made some good contacts on here and my thoughts about fb without having to do an "in depth survey" are: you have to trawl through 95% of shit to discover the 5% worth looking for....lol....ON A SELF PROMOTIONAL NOTE: This survey was brought to you by FRED FREDDY, it took him 5 minutes not 5 weeks and required NO funding.....
I am a facebooker, and that is because my family is all over the usa, and it is a wonderful way to stay in touch, be able to see what they are doing, send and share pictures, and just keep up with things, it seems that talking on the phone leaves me sad, and letters just dont cut it . I am also a gamer, and the other set of friends share my games and we just talk. humbug on the study, I have more self esteem in one finger than any other 10 ppl, but I do love and miss my family that have moved away
I think most FaceBook users had perfectly normal self esteem until King Larry joined.
using the word most is exceptionally wrong. but if one says that facebook has actually made pple become more timid i will tend to agree with that
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