[PRESS RELEASE] Facebook status updates reveal low self-esteem and narcissism

I was contacted by ITV This Morning yesterday to discuss  the possibility of being on the programme to discuss the following story (ITV Player programme here – they decided to go with another psychologist, rather than a social media specialist):

personalityPeople who post Facebook status updates about their romantic partner are more likely to have low self-esteem, while those who brag about diets, exercise, and accomplishments are typically narcissists, according to new research.

Psychologists at Brunel University London surveyed Facebook users to examine the personality traits and motives that influence the topics they choose to write about in their status updates – something that few previous studies have explored.

The data was collected from 555 Facebook users who completed online surveys measuring the ‘Big Five’ personality traits – extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness – as well as self-esteem and narcissism.

The research found:

  • 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 theFacebook 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.

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 theirFacebook 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.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Academics used the 35-item Berkeley Personality Profile to measure the ‘Big Five’ personality traits; the 10-item Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale to assess self-esteem; and the 13-item Narcissistic Personality Inventory to measure narcissism.

The research also suggested the following:

  • Extraverts use Facebook status updates as a tool for social engagement
  • Neurotic individuals use Facebook for validation – to win the attention and support they lack offline
  • People high in openness use the platform primarily to write about current events, the arts, or their political views rather than for socialising

‘The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates’ by Tara C Marshall, Katharina Lefringhausen and Nelli Ferenczi is published here.

Gateshead: Thinking Digital

An annual conference for those curious about how technology is shaping our future, a place to collaborate, and share thoughts and ideas with other creative, innovative and entrepreneurial people.

I am ‘simply’ going to attend and have my head filled with all kinds of things, plus get a chance to talk to interesting people!

[MEDIA] Radio Interviews re @MarthaLaneFox #DimblebyLecture and @NSPCC Report

First thing spotted on the phone this morning – an invitation to comment on Martha Lane-Fox’s statement that we have no choice but to engage with the internet:

Then there was a Tweet from one of the producers at Radio 5 Live, which resulted in this conversation:

And then an email via my website from BBC Three Counties Radio resulted in this interview:

Reframe: Research in Media, Film and Music (@_REFRAME)

reframe

This looks interesting:

REFRAME aims to offer a range of scholarly and related creative and critical content – from relatively ephemeral or responsive forms of research output (project blogs, online film and video festivals, conferences and symposia, and audio and video podcasts) through to fully peer-reviewed online serials and monographic publications, and digital archives and assemblages.

They’ve just published The Tablet Book, developed from a 2013 symposium which was responding to media reports that 2013 was ‘the year of the tablet’. Available open-access.

'How to Live Well in a Digital World' with @NomadPodcast at #GB14

On Saturday morning, in the press tent at Greenbelt, I had an enjoyable chat with the Nomad Podcast guys about ‘how to live well in a digital world’. Check back through their files for some interesting looking titles!

nomad-podcast

Listen directly to the file.

Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains, by Susan Greenfield

23568_book-review-mind-change-by-susan-greenfieldA review by Tara Brabazon:

Susan Greenfield is a neuroscientist with a high media profile, and this, her latest book, is aimed at the “general” (Daily Mail) reader. The accompanying publicity material refers to Greenfield as a “professional neuroscientist”. This adjective must be reassuring. An “amateur neuroscientist” would be a problem. Greenfield built her academic career on the study of dementia rather than digitisation, but this latter focus has now become a “professional” fixation.

The book is organised into 20 short chapters. Social networking, gaming, mobile phones and Google make up the laundry list of threats to society. The problem that undermines Mind Change is a lack of disciplinary expertise in digital cultures.

Read full review.