Did you know that your personality is directly linked to your social media use and your craving for online ‘likes’?
If you’ve got low self-esteem, you’re likely to spend plenty of time online searching for ‘likes’. If you’re confident, sociable and outgoing – it’s likely that you won’t really care what people think.
That’s what psychologists at the University of South Wales (USW) have discovered after carrying out research into the social media habits of hundreds of people aged between 18 and 78.
The subjects used up to 10 social media sites – with 90% using up to five – and most of them posted up to five times each day. They were asked 25 questions about how people appreciate being ‘liked’ online. What the researchers discovered:
People who spend a lot of time online and who crave ‘likes’:
- Have low self-esteem
- Lack openness
- Lack trust, warmth, honesty, and a conscience
- Are negative about new experiences and lack imagination
- Will post things they don’t believe in
- Will accept friend requests from people they don’t know
People who spend less time on social media:
- Don’t care about ‘likes’
- Have higher levels of self-esteem
- Are sociable and outgoing
- Are positive about themselves online, and have confidence in their own abilities
- Are emotionally stable and content
USW professor Dr Martin Graff, an expert in the psychology of social media and Head of Research in USW’s School of Psychology, said: “We asked those taking part in the study to answer 25 questions, focusing on their views on how people appreciate being popular on social media.
“From this, we were able to come up with six different groups, ranging from those who put effort into in social media – who craved, and even paid, for likes – the ones who wanted social media ‘likes’ to make them feel good, and people who took action to get likes or deleted posts that got no reaction.
“Others were categorised as ‘blind’ – they accepted friend requests from strangers and often posted things they didn’t believe so as to get a positive reaction – and there were those who always posted positive things, often about themselves.
“The final group were categorised as ‘honest’ and didn’t care about how they were viewed.”
The study has given the USW researchers a new insight into the way online interactions mirror people’s everyday personalities.
“Although the study is at its very early stages and only takes into account the views of a small group – it does give us some understanding of how people’s real-world personalities influence their actions online,” Dr Graff said.
“It indicates that the way we act while interacting on social media is to some extent linked to our personalities and our perception of our own self-esteem.”