Facebook and personality
Last modified: 29-03-2020
Some have 50 friends, others 500. Some update their status once every few months, while others share each kilometer run and every dinner eaten. How do such people differ in terms of personality?
One of the most studied personality models is the Big Five model, according to which the human personality consists of five dimensions: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience. Each person has each of these features to some extent.
The dimension of extraversion tells how much a person is focused on social contacts. People who are high on the extraversion scale are cheerful, active, optimistic and talkative. They easily make new friends and often engage in interaction with others.
On the internet, extroverts spend more time on social networks and on Facebook they belong to more groups and have more friends than less extroverted people (more introverted). They also contact their friends, view their activities, update their status, and like various elements more often. However, less often than introverts, they publish on Facebook something they later regret.
Extroverts also more often admit that it is important to look popular on Facebook and so are seen by others. As a profile photo, they insert unusual and less conservative photos more often than introverts. They also more often say that there is nothing on their profile that would surprise their friends or family.
On the other hand, studies have shown that extroverts reveal less information about themselves on Facebook than introverts. It is a place for them to share current thoughts and activities, rather than interests or status of the relationship, which their friends often know anyway, thanks to contacts outside the Internet.
Highly agreeable people according to the Big Five concept are nice, kind, flexible, trusting and understanding. They avoid conflicts but do not reject the possibility of making new friends.
According to research, people who are high on the dimension of agreeableness, update their status more often focusing on themselves than those less agreeable. They also more often regret what they have written or published and less often click “like it”. The conducted research only says about the correlation between different indicators, so the reasons for such results can only be guessed. The authors of the study suggest that perhaps more agreeable people are less likely to like an element because they are afraid that they may offend their friends in this way, e.g. by liking something about Christianity they could offend their Muslim friends.
People who are less agreeable, more often, however, write or publish something that the authors of the study called Facebook faux pas. It is about comments or photos that can make a negative impression on potential employers and cause that after reviewing the profile, they reject the person’s candidacy. They can be, for example, naked or half-naked photos, photos on which they drink alcohol or hold weapons, or comments indicating the use of drugs.
This dimension tells you how much a person is responsible, organized and disciplined. Conscientious people have internal motivation and usually try to do their job best.
Research has shown that more conscientious people spend less time on social networks than less conscientious and generally spend more time online learning than entertainment. Research focused on Facebook, however, showed no correlation between conscientiousness and time spent on Facebook and the frequency of its use. Perhaps because Facebook is used by many students to communicate when preparing projects and to share learning materials?
Conscientious people are less likely to like different pages and belong to a smaller number of groups. They also post less often than less conscientious people. For less conscientious people, however, Facebook faux pas happens more often, and at the same time they are less likely to regret what they have published.
People with high emotional stability are calm, relaxed and manage stress well. Low emotional stability is called neuroticism. Such people often experience sadness, anxiety, shame and have difficulty coping with stress.
Neurotic people make less social contacts than emotionally stable ones, but spend more time on the Internet, especially in chat rooms. The News Feed is their favorite part of Facebook. They spend more time on Facebook than emotionally stable people, but they have fewer friends, less often use this portal to contact friends and less often upload photos. They belong to a larger number of groups and they like different elements more often. Perhaps neurotic people who, because of their characteristics, have difficulties in making friends and because of this also have few on Facebook, join groups in which they can meet with some support and make virtual contact. By liking various elements, they may be counting on reciprocal like in the future.
It has also been shown that people to a large extent neurotic share their private information more often and more often they publish Facebook faux pas, but those who are high on the dimension of emotional stability more often regret their activity on Facebook.
Openness to experience
People open to experience are people interested in the world, aesthetically sensitive and creative. They are eager to gain new knowledge and learn the views and values of others. On the other hand, those who have low openness to experience are conventional in behavior and have conservative views on many issues.
Those who are high on the dimension of openness to experience more often write a blog and more often use social networking sites. On Facebook, they reveal more information about themselves, “like” more often, belong to a larger number of groups, and update their status more often.
- Bachrach, Y., Kosinski, M., Graepel, T., Kohli, P., Stillwell, D. (2012). Personality and Patterns of Facebook Usage. WebSci 22-24. (pdf na davidstillwell.co.uk)
- Karl, K., Peluchette, J., Schlaegel, C. (2010). Who’s Posting Facebook Faux Pas? A Cross-Cultural Examination of Personality Differences. International Journal of Selection and Assessment 18(2), 174-186.
- Moore, K., McElroy, J. C. (2012). The influence of personality on Facebook usage, wall postings, and regret. Computers in Human Behavior 28, 267-274
- Quercia, D., Lambiotte, R., Stillwell, D., Kosinski, M., Crowcroft, J. (2012).The Personality of Popular Facebook Users. Session: Social Network Analysis 11-15, 955-964 (pdf na cl.cam.ac.uk)
- Ross, C., Orr, E. S., Sisic, M., Arseneault, J. M., Simmering, M. G., Orr, R. R. (2009). Personality and motivations associated with Facebook use. Computers in Human Behavior 25, 578-586. (pdf na pbworks.com)
Author: Maja Kochanowska