Friday, 6 February 2015

Check Out My Selfie!

            Most of us spend some time on social media. Some of us spend A LOT of time on social networking sites, either posting about our own lives or gaining some insight into others. Whether we are connecting with old friends or meeting new ones, social networking has infiltrated our lives to a greater degree than ever before. We are involved in looking up people we recently met, viewing the pictures they post, and are continuously updated about others lives. Sometimes we want to find out what our friends are up to, or we are "creeping" people we do not even know. "Creeping," you know, stumbling upon somebody's profile and viewing all the pictures they posted, even if we never met them. Who's really going to find out, right?

           The realm of social media online, interconnects individuals and continuously updates us on the details of other's lives. Individuals create profiles where they post things that may consist of the meal they just ate, the fact they just attended the gym, or maybe the fact they just broke up with a loved one. Social media provides insight into people's lives like never before. How accurate are social media profiles in actually depicting lives? What type of people post pictures about the meal they just had? Why are some people telling everyone what they are doing on a momentary basis? Why do we still engage with social media if all we learn about is the nitty gritty of our friends lives? The people who are constantly posting pictures of themselves, their bodies, and what they are doing, are similar in some ways. It's not just annoying, it may be a bit troubling. 
Two researchers at Ohio State University (Rooney & Fox, 2004) wanted to answer some questions about the similarities of the type of people engaged in certain behaviors on social networking sites. In this case, they were particularly interested in the behavior of men in the U.S from the ages 18 – 40. A sample of 1000 men completed an online survey that investigated their use of social media and the behaviors they engage in. They actually found some unsettling results.

Through an extensive series of questions, the researchers found that males who concentrated on their physical appearance as opposed to their competence, spent more time on social networking. Also, individuals who were more narcissistic reported spending more time on social networking sites. Males who were more narcissistic and objectified their bodies, testified to more time spent on social networking; the same men also edited and posted more photos of themselves. The researchers also found that those males who were rated higher on psychopathy  posted more pictures as well. Importantly, those more narcissistic were more likely to edit photos they posted as compared to the more narcissistic males, presumably because they were more impulsive. So overall, narcissism, psychopathy, time spend on social networking, amount of pictures posted, were all related to he number of selfies (picture of oneself, taken by oneself) posted. Further, psychopathy, manipulative tendencies, narcissism, and self objectification were all related to time spend on social media. 

 Im sure you have experienced this on some of the networks you use; pages and pages of pictures of oneself! Some people just feel the world revolves around them and want all the attention. Some feel that social networking sites provide an audience for them to express the workings of their lives. Maybe when you are on Facebook next time, stay away from those who think they are at the centre of the universe. 

  • Fox, J., & Rooney, M. C. (2015). The dark triad and trait self-objectification as predictors of men’s use and self-presentation behaviors on social networking sites. Personality and Individual Differences, 76, 161-165. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.12.017

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