STUDY: Australian Facebookers Are Narcissistic

A new study says that Australian heavy Facebook users are more likely to be self-absorbed and looking for self-promotion opportunities.

A new research study indicates that Facebook satisfies its Australian users in ways that fit their personality, as opposed to sparking people to behave in ways that are outside of their comfort zone. Overall, a correlation was specifically found between extroversion and self-absorption and amount and quality of time spent on Facebook.

The study was conducted by two professors from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, in Australia, and published in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behaviour. Researchers surveyed 1158 Australian Facebook users and compared them to 166 non-users, all of them ages 18 to 44.

“Extroverts crave instant gratification, and Facebook gives them this very quickly. Narcissists are looking for self-promotion – they want to talk about themselves and are very self-focused, which suits the Facebook format,” one of the researchers, Tracii Ryan, told the Herald Sun.

It makes sense, in Australia or anywhere else, that a social networking site would be used by extroverts or narcissistic quite a bit more (and in different ways) than those who are shy and passive.

Survey participants filled out an online questionnaire measuring big five personality traits: neuroticism, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and openness to experience. The questions alsoasked how much they used Facebook and what features they preferred using.

The researchers pointed out that those who tended to be shyer used Facebook’s more passive features, to interact less with other users. This raised an interesting question for me: Since every activity on Facebook is technically “social,” which activities could be considered more passive and which ones more active? Is it less social to look at someone’s picture but not like it or comment on it? Is playing a game on Facebook less social than chatting?

Regardless of their level of extroversion, Australian Facebook users’ favorite features were the same ones preferred by people elsewhere: photos, private messages, wall posts, and status updates.

Readers, what do you think about this particular survey? Does Facebook cultivate narcissism and extroversion or simply channel these traits?