Social Psychology Eye
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Tag Archives: Social Networking websites
A recent study by Soraya Mehdizadeh has made the news because it made an interesting connection between Facebook profiles and personality traits like narcissism. The study found that the more times a person checked Facebook, the higher they scored on narcissism. Also, there was a significant relationship between self-promotional content and narcissism scales. According to the study, for women self promotional content tended to include images of “revealing, flashy and adorned photos of their physical appearance” while for men, their “about me” descriptions highlighted their intelligence and wit. However, the study also finds that people with low self-esteem also check their Facebook pages more often.
The link between self-esteem and narcissism has been hard to understand for years despite ample research on both topics. According to a review done by Bossom and colleagues the problem in understanding the connections between narcissism and self-esteem is that some research has shown that narcissism is actually a mask to hide low self-esteem, but other research has failed to show this pattern. According to the review there are several subtypes of narcissism that have different relationships with self-esteem. Furthermore, the research on self-esteem shows that different aspects of the self may be being measured depending on the type of self-esteem measure being used.
The research on Facebook adds an interesting piece to the puzzle as it reveals the way in which both low self-esteem and narcissism are manifesting as the same behaviour on social networking site. The mask theory of narcissism (that it is used to mask low self-esteem) might make sense here as people’s grandiose view of themself is being broadcasted through constant use and updating of their Facebook profiles; while a need for validation that goes along with deeper low self-esteem is driving them to seek instant feedback (something Facebook can uniquely provide) from their friends.
Facebook. Twitter. MySpace. These social networking websites have become ever pervasive in modern life. They allow us to keep up with friends and family, as well as keep tabs onformer classmates and co-workers. They also serve many psychological functions such as providing a sense of being connected to others (however difficult it may be to establish the meaningfulness of these online relationships), a social comparison function, and bolstering one’s sense of identity (in that we can see ourselves through what others post about us or in response to us.)
Despite the positive functions of these sites we may be exposing ourselves to an undesirable loss of privacy and even public scrutiny regarding the content we post online. Rusty DePass, a South Carolina Republican activist, wrote a private message to a friend that included a racist remark targeted at First Lady Michelle Obama. A local political blogger saw this message and now DePass’s comments are public fodder. While DePass’s case may not be the most sympathetic it does call into question the protections in place for content we would like to keep to ourselves or among close friends. Robin Wauters, a blogger for TechCrunch, recently wrote about FBHive a website which will allow anyone to take advantage of a security loophole to view private profile information. The fun innocuous image of sites like Facebook give users an apparently unwarranted sense of safety regarding the security of their “private” thoughts, feelings, and images.
Internet and Popular Culture
Online Social Networking