Facebook is a mirror while Twitter is a megaphone.
That is the core of a University of Michigan study into the two dominant social networks and how people use them.
Lead researcher Elliot Panek and colleagues carried out two studies. In the first, college students were asked how they used social media and given personality assessments. Among this age group, narcissists preferred to use Twitter to broadcast their opinions to others.
“Young people may overevaluate the importance of their own opinions,” explained Panek. “Through Twitter, they’re trying to broaden their social circles and broadcast their views about a wide range of topics and issues.”
In the second study, with participants averaging 35 years of age, a similar personality assessment revealed that the narcissists among this older group preferred Facebook, leading Panek to say, “It’s about curating your own image, how you are seen, and also checking on how others respond to this image. Middle-aged adults usually have already formed their social selves, and they use social media to gain approval from those who are already in their social circles.”
Purchase and download the original study here.
Photo (cc) Graham Smith