This Is What Your Facebook Status REALLY Says About You

posted: 05/29/15
by: TLCme
man sitting at computer with facebook on screen

You may scan the sea of status updates that fills your Facebook newsfeed every day, but a closer look may reveal a lot about your "friends." A new study out of the UK finds that what you say on Facebook can explain a lot about your personality.

Psychologists at Brunel University London surveyed more than 550 Facebook users, measuring what they call the "Big Five" personality traits -- extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness - along with self-esteem and narcissism. What they found was that certain types of posts correlated with various qualities. Here are a few common posts -- and what they really mean.

1. "OMG just had the most amazing date with my boyfriend (insert emoji hearts)." Those with low self-esteem were more likely to post about their romantic lives than those who had high self-esteem.

2. "Just had a huge fight with my mom. In such a bad mood now!" Neurotic personalities tended to post personal updates with the goal of validation --aka comments and likes. Researchers hypothesize that they seek the attention and social support that they may not have in their lives.

3. "William Jr. just took his first few steps -- at just 9 months old! -- time goes by so quickly." Talking about your kids? That's a sign of being conscientious, though it could also be perceived of an "indirect form of competitive parenting," so you might want to keep it in check.

4. "Just completed in my 10th 10K and placed first in my age group (accompanied by a sweaty, yet triumphant picture)." Narcissists, on the other hand, love to post about their bodies, diets, and exercise routines. They're also more likely to post updates about their personal achievements because -- ding, ding, ding! -- they seek validation and attention from their friends.

5. "Out with the best co-workers ever for the first patio happy hour of the year." Extroverts use Facebook to communicate and socialize, so their statuses frequently revealed their social activities.

6. "Good read" with a shared article about the upsides of the Apple watch. Those who exhibit high openness tend to use Facebook for finding and disseminating information, but not for socializing.

7. "So proud of my BFF Jen for graduating with her PhD. Who run the world? Girls!" People who are more agreeable tend to use Facebook for improving their relationships with others. The study found that people who ranked highly for agreeableness were less likely to post things that were self-promoting.

"It is important to understand why people write about certain topics on Facebook because their updates may be differentially rewarded with 'likes' and comments," said Brunel University London lecturer Dr. Tara Marshall in a press release. "People who receive more likes and comments tend to experience the benefits of social inclusion, whereas those who receive none feel ostracized." And those likes and comments can provide a huge boost in self-esteem. It might also be dangerous if these interactions suddenly disappear, or if people put too much stock Facebook for their personal validation.

So try to build your self-esteem offline, and enjoy dissecting the posts you peruse in your newsfeed today.