How you behave on Facebook can give quite a bit of insight into your personality. The frequency in which you share certain things, what you like and how often you like it doesn’t just showcase your interests; It is also a powerful indicator for your neuroses, narcissistic traits or a lack of self-esteem.
There are countless studies that deal with user behavior on the biggest social network in the world. The statistics show that Facebook had 1.59 billion users a month last year. That makes for a very large sample size indeed.
We have looked through a few of these studies and found those that draw out correlations between certain behaviors on Facebook and low self-esteem.
This is what the scientists found people with low self-esteem do on Facebook:
They collect friends in bulk
You are almost certainly reminded of at least one person when we mention excessively huge friendlists on Facebook. These are often the kinds of people who spoke to you once in passing and immediately sent you a friend request.
The number of friends these people seem to have can easily climb into the triple digits and everyone knows: It would be impossible for them to know everyone on their list well, let alone be actual friends with them.
According to a study published in 2012, the compulsive collection of friends is a strong signal that something could be wrong with the self-esteem of the collector. The study was published in the journal “Computers and Human Behavior” and the authors suggest that people with low self-esteem might try to compensate in social networks.
Every new “friend” added is another little triumph that makes them feel more popular on Facebook than they might be in real life.
They keep sharing their location
There is no event, no party without these people who just can’t stop sharing with others on Facebook where they are and what they are doing.
This always comes with a (group) selfie and a comment along the lines of “best evening of all time”. And the more people they can link in the post, the better. If these people were actually there or if your friend just thought he saw them out of the corner of his eye is of very secondary importance.
Scientists of the Western Illinois University have researched this behavior. Facebook encourages our urge to self-promote. People with low self-esteem can be so susceptible to this that they spend so much of their time uploading photos and watching reactions that the “best evening of all time” completely passes them by.
The scientists explain that people who behave like this often can’t enjoy the event by itself anymore. Their satisfaction becomes dependent on how they can present themselves on social media using the event. They are only interested in getting good pictures out of it and leaving their virtual friends jealous and impressed. The more people on Facebook think they are living this amazing life, the happier they are. Reality does not come into it.
They like to present themselves with intellectual and condescending posts
Facebook is also a great platform for narcissists, as it allows them to present themselves in the best possible light.
True narcissism is a profound personality disorder. Those afflicted often have severely decreased self-esteem and are very vulnerable to any kind of criticism.
These traits alternate with extreme self-aggrandisement, vanity and the projection of an excessive sense of self-worth. This is how narcissists compensate for their crippling self-doubt and Facebook plays into that perfectly.
The scientists Elliot Panek, Yioryos Nardis and Sara Konrath published a study in the journal “Computers and Human Behavior”, in which they show that these people like to present themselves as intellectuals with deliberately highbrow and pretentious posts. For this they will pick topics that will garner them the esteem of their peers and show them as educated and thoughtful. And once they posted it they can’t resist the urge to check and recheck it to see how their friends receive it and how many likes they got for it.
This creates a sort of “circle of ego-stroking”: The poster gets to present himself in a flattering way, but the people who like the post do the same. Scientists have found that people will like and share these “intellectual” posts to appear as educated and thoughtful as the original author.