Can you know a person by their Facebook posts?
According to many fascinating studies, you can. Many people use Facebook to connect with friends and family, but clearly there’s more to it than that.
Most of the personality traits I post here are from the Big 5 Questionnaire, one of the most comprehensive personality tests around. If you don’t know your personality, feel free to give it a take.
Without further ado, here are some Facebook behaviors to look for that reveal personality in people:
Posting many updates
Posting more in Facebook most likely means you’re sociable and extraverted. Apparently, our sociability and friendliness extends even to our online profiles. Dr. Marshall and peers from the Brunel University found a moderate link between number of posts and extraversion. Consequently, not posting could mean you are a reserved person, or maybe you don’t use Facebook at all.
Posting photos about diet, exercises, or achievements
People who frequently post their achievements, exercise, and diet routines tend to score higher in narcissism. Perhaps these are ways of grabbing attention and validation from peers, as if to say, “Admire me!” Since the common type of narcissist has a wide reaching audience, receiving those important Comments and Likes shouldn’t be too hard. Of course, this shouldn’t always be seen as a bad thing, since mild doses of narcissism can be healthy.
Guys posting selfies
With the advent of social media follows the age of selfies. Selfies are photos you take of yourself or a group, usually at arm’s length or through mirrors. Clearly, more women post their selfies on Facebook, and that’s pretty normal. However, guys who frequently post selfies also tend to be higher in narcissism. In a study by Dr. Sorowski and peers, selfie-posting guys (but not women) tended to score higher in the narcissism inventories. Particularly, these men were more likely to demand admiration, and expect to be treated as an authority.
Sharing intellectual posts
People who post about politics, science, and such are more likely to score high in openness to experience. People high in openness are usually artistic, creative and/or intellectual, mostly using Facebook to spread information (instead of just socializing). This trend holds true from my experience, since I see a lot of my scholarly friends create informative posts.
Number of photo tags
It turns out that your number of Facebook photo tags relates how agreeable you are according to one study. If you are agreeable, you are likely warm, friendly, and cooperative to the people around you. Also, agreeable people are great to hangout with, so I’m not surprised that more people tag them.
Frequently posting photos with a romantic partner
Remember that friend that uploads their couple photos every other day? Dr. Campbell and Marshall found people who frequently posted their couple photos tended to have anxious attachment styles. Also, these type of people are afraid of abandonment, and constantly want reassurance that their partners will stay. According to another study, these insecure individuals post many couple photos to convince others that their relationship is still going strong.
Posting updates about children
People who post more about their children have been found to be higher in the trait conscientiousness. If you are conscientious, you are hardworking, organized, and responsible. These people try to act with conscience, hence the name of the word. I think that parents tend to be more responsible and mature than people who aren’t. This could be why people who post about their children are more conscientious people.
I hope these few points hold true for your experience. Also, I discourage stereotyping or typing people based on Facebook behavior alone. Posting selfies does not make a person a narcissist, and so on. Other than that, feel free to use these points for fun (even advertising)!
What other Facebook behaviors do you think I missed?