We all have Facebook friends who we couldn’t pick out of a lineup. We have no idea where we met them and since they changed their last name to their middle name, they might as well be strangers. But we still know more about “Lauren Katherine” than we do about our own parents because she can’t bake a fucking quiche in the oven without plastering it on Facebook, and every time her baby spoils his diaper, we just HAVE to know about it. And Lauren Katherine isn’t the only insufferable one poisoning our feeds. Marco posts about his gains after fucking set of shrugs and Billy and Trisha are just SO SMITTEN IN LOVE they want everyone to know that getting married at 22 after Billy got a handjob from Trisha’s sister was NOT a mistake.
And how many times have we been so fed up with constant flood of baby pics that we’ve almost commented, “your child looks like an alien,” or commented “tighten up those love handles” on Marco’s eighth shirtless pic of the week?
But maybe we should suppress those urges because science says that these people could very well have psychological issues.
A study at Brunel University in London collected data from 555 Facebook users who completed online surveys measuring the ‘Big Five’ personality traits – extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness – as well as self-esteem and narcissism.
The research found:
- People with low self-esteem more frequently posted status updates about their current romantic partner.
- Narcissists more frequently updated about their achievements, which was motivated by their need for attention and validation from the Facebook community. These updates also received a greater number of ‘likes’ and comments, indicating that narcissists’ boasting may be reinforced by the attention they crave.
- Narcissists also wrote more status updates about their diet and exercise routine, suggesting that they use Facebook to broadcast the effort they put into their physical appearance.
- Conscientiousness was associated with writing more updates about one’s children.
Psychology lecturer Dr Tara Marshall claims that we are enablers and simply adding fuel to the fire.
“Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays. Greater awareness of how one’s status updates might be perceived by friends could help people to avoid topics that annoy more than they entertain.”
So if you’ll excuse me, my baby son just bench pressed while cooking pasta primavera and THAT’S fucking newsworthy. ‘Like’ my shit or I’ll quietly resent you.