With 1,710 million users and 934 million people who access it every day, Facebook has become the social network par excellence. In this space we publish photos of our trips, the people we love and we share what we are interested in.
However, we’re not all publishing the same things. There are those who share mainly personal experiences as the details of their latest lunch or a great trip, others use the social network to express their feelings about friends and others use it as a political battleground.
This diversity means that our profile in this social network has become, in a sense, an extension of ourselves and a reflection of some of the characteristics of our personality. Therefore, psychologists at the University of Brunel have tried to evaluate the relationship between the publications that we share on Facebook and our personality. Analyzing 555 people they were able to establish the different categories closely linked to the different personological characteristics.
The 5 most common types of publications and the characteristics that hide
1. Publications on exercise, diet and personal achievements
Photos of the workout in the gym, a close-up of the muscles, images of each dish of the trendy diet, the picture of the last smartphone or the newly purchased car… This kind of publications are linked to a narcissistic personality since are not relevant information to your circle of friends but publications exclusively focused on yourself and your personal “achievements”. Usually these people do not really want to connect with the others, but only capture their attention to receive an increasing number of “likes” and comments, because only feeding their egos they feel good.
2. Publications related to the couple’s relationship
It is normal to publish photos with our partner as we live together many experiences that we would like to share with the others. But when the number of publications is such that we no longer know exactly who owns the profile and the person disappears to give prominence to the partner, this may indicate a lack of self-esteem. Furthermore, if the social network is used to publish private matters, such as spiteful messages, anger or frustration with an ex, it might reveal a neurotic person, who is probably seeking social support to help him/her deal with the situation.
3. Publications on children
Again it is perfectly understandable that parents share the experiences they lived with their children, as these are an important part of their lives. In fact, this trend could indicate a reasonable person, responsible and organized. But if the number of publications is excessive and these often focus on problems and negative aspects, may indicate a person with neurotic traits, anxious and very sensitive to stress. If your Facebook profile looks like a collection of medals that collects all of the child successes, however small and insignificant, can indicate a very competitive person seeking validation of his/her abilities as a mother or father through the social network.
4. Publications on social life and details of everyday living
Publications related to the experiences we have, the small details of everyday life and the events that we are planning, normally indicate an extroverted person, who uses this network to communicate and connect with the others. These people tend to be talkative and cheerful, they like to socialize and participate actively in Facebook commenting on other people’s profiles.
5. Intellectual publications
Who often shares news, studies, current topics or reflections is usually a person with greater openness, more creative, attentive to the world, with greater intellectual curiosity and concerned for his/her own personal growth. These people use Facebook to share information they consider most valuable and relevant, and rarely comment on board updated messages as they generally prefer face to face meetings.
How reliable are these correlations?
Personality is a very complex construction, is not the simple combination of different characteristics and changes throughout life. This means that labeling and classifying people, we see only a small part of them, ignoring the rest.
However, the fact remains that we spend more and more time on the Internet, and we project ourselves through the network, so that every time we give a “like” or share something, we are reflecting our interests, concerns and, of course, let glimpse something of who we are.
Marshall, T. C. et. Al. (2015) The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates. Personality and Individual Differences; 85: 35–40.