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Updated: Wed Sep. 08 2010 10:02:34
Dave Duncan, CTV.ca News
A recent study of Canadian university students suggests the heaviest users of Facebook are narcissists and people with low self-esteem.
The study of 100 students ranked participants based on levels of narcissism and self-esteem. It revealed that those who ranked high for narcissism almost universally spent more time logging into and updating their Facebook profile.
The study, which defines narcissism as "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and an exaggerated sense of self-importance," seems common sense enough as Facebook is seemingly the perfect tool for bragging and showing off.
How students deemed to have low self-esteem used Facebook was more surprising.
According to the study published last month in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, respondents identified as having low self-esteem were also heavy users of Facebook.
According to the study, people with insecurities manage their image by hiding physical features or personality traits they don't like and putting forward only what they see as the best of themselves.
The study doesn't go so far as to say that all heavy users of Facebook are narcissists or people with very low self-esteem, but that both those with a strong and weak sense of self use Facebook to assert their best view of themselves.
Narcissism and Self-Esteem on Facebook was written by York University undergraduate student Soraya Mehdizadeh. Speaking to CTV.ca, she summarized how everyone participates in social media, saying "you very carefully construct the image of yourself that you want people to see."
Mehdizadeh went on to say "that's why so many people get paranoid if their boss sees them on Facebook. They're worried that they don't project the same image there that they project in their workplace."
Rather than focusing on those with high self-esteem, Mehdizadeh prefers to draw attention to how those with insecurities can use social media to project themselves in a way that increases their self-esteem.
"If people with lower self-esteem are more likely to use Facebook, it may have an indirect effect on their self esteem," she said, adding that social media presents a unique opportunity for those with insecurity issues to effectively re-invent themselves.
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Daniel From Toronto
100 people tested im sorry but 100 people out of 16 million in Canada is just not that useful of information. What do you call a scientist? a doctor who failed Med-School.
Then the other 99% of us use it to keep in contact with family and old friends...
next generation please
Everybody I know uses facebook to sell something (themselves, their great family, etc.). Nothing on it seems credible or real anymore, so I am waiting for the new younger generation to come along with the 'next great thing' as this one is getting tired real fast. What if they invented social gatherings, where people could meet face-to-face, wouldnt that be a great new idea. They could organise dances, and sporting events, and hanging out at great restaurants. They wouldnt have time to write about their life for 3 hours, because they would be too busy living it! They wouldnt need to know about what their friends were doing because they would be with them. Just a thought, after all we never know what the next generation will invent.
I just go on facebook to play online games like Cafe World and Mafia Wars. Good times...
Sorry, but most of us use it to keep in contact with old friends, I have a girlfriend overseas and sometimes it's the only way to keep in contact. You can't just judge with 100 people, it's unfair to the over 500 MILLION people who use it.
Facebook is a great thing, don't go slapping labels on us. That's like saying "All American Football players where childhood bullies" then only studying one person.
It just doesen't work.
I don't see the benefits of faceless technology and I can't delete my facebook account
This study is basically saying that several million people are vain and narcassistic and that is going to tick a lot of people off.
The way I communicate is different than perhaps someone else. Shyness comes to mind. There are some people so painfully shy that facebook may be a too to help them.
This study confirms what I already knew, as well I see (judging by the comments)that it seems to have hit a "nerve" in some of the narcissists out there. :)
Ya a 100 person group is quite small.....but 16 million Canadians? I think there are more like 33 million of us.
Facebook is already turning into Myspace, abandoned.
The personality disorders mentioned sure fit two family members who also happen to have facebook accounts. They are always self promoting and also putting others down whenever possible. Perhaps people actually will see themselves now.....but probably not.
The article is complete bunk. Who doesn't have 346 friends in real life......