Here’s What Insecure People Post On Facebook

Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
'Tis the season for cutesy, romantic-beach-date photos flooding Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and every other feed in your life. But, according to new research, those who can't stop posting about their sweeties may just be more insecure. For the study, published online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers collected information from 555 Facebook users. Participants were asked about their use of the social site, especially their status updates and what motivates them to post. Researchers also collected data about participants' personalities, including the "Big Five" traits as well as narcissism and self-esteem levels. Results showed that certain topics and types of status updates correlated with different personality traits. For instance, someone who scored as an extrovert was more likely to share overall (especially about real-life social interactions, such as attending a party). And, narcissists predictably tended to post about their achievements, such as a promotion. But, those who rated as having lower levels of self-esteem tended to post more often about their romantic lives. Interestingly, those participants claimed to use the site for self-expression instead of validation. This suggests their aim in chronicling their love lives is simply to tell a story rather than to find a sense of acceptance. Still, "it is reasonable to surmise that people with low self-esteem update about their partner as a way of laying claim to their relationship when it feels threatened," the study authors write. Although you may fool your Facebook friends into thinking you're actually secure in your relationship, we tend to really hate it when people post about their partners often. We do tailor our online selves to be the best version of us. But, this and other research suggests we're not that good at hiding our insecurities. In a paper published earlier this year, researchers created an algorithm that was able to predict our personality traits using just our Facebook "Likes." And, the algorithm was even more accurate than our human friends and family were. So, in trying to hide what we're like, we may actually reveal a lot more.

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