Measuring the narcissism of Facebook and Twitter users

Posted by Emory Kale

A new study out of the University of Michigan measures the connection between narcissism and social networking site use. Guess what? it is growing.

The study was designed also to differentiate between different types of narcissism as exhibited by students and adults on both Facebook and Twitter. The conclusions were, to put it succinctly, that Twitter use is associated with superiority for students while Facebook is associated with superiority for adults.

As the study summarizes:

"As research on the connection between narcissism and social networking site (SNS) use grows, definitions of SNS and measurements of their use continue to vary, leading to conflicting results. To improve understanding of the relationship between narcissism and SNS use, as well as the implications of differences in definition and measurement, we examine two ways of measuring Facebook and Twitter use by testing the hypothesis that SNS use is positively associated with narcissism. We also explore the relation between these types of SNS use and different components of narcissism within college students and general adult samples. Our findings suggest that for college students, posting on Twitter is associated with the Superiority component of narcissistic personality while Facebook posting is associated with the Exhibitionism component. Conversely, adults high in Superiority post on Facebook more rather than Twitter. For adults, Facebook and Twitter are both used more by those focused on their own appearances but not as a means of showing off, as is the case with college students. Given these differences, it is essential for future studies of SNS use and personality traits to distinguish between different types of SNS, different populations, and different types of use."

Study researcher Elliot Panek told CBC News in Canada: "Young people overvaluate (sic) the importance of their own opinions."

On Twitter, younglings feel like they are broadcasting their views feeling that they have a lot to say about a lot of different topics.

On Facebook, Panek says, "Middle-aged adults usually have already formed their social selves and they use social media to gain approval from those who are already in their social circles."