Social networking is for narcissists

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are a narcissist magnet, according to a study penned by the University of Michigan.

Young adults of college age and their adult counterparts use social media in differing ways to bolster their egos and control perceptions of others, the report suggests.

Apparently vain college-age students love using Twitter to make their opinions and views seem important.

Elliot Panek, University of Michigan researcher said that social networking is about making your image, how you are seen, and also checking on how others respond to this image.

He told CBC News that the young tend to overvaluate the importance of their own opinions. Through Twitter, they’re trying to broaden their social circles and broadcast their views about a wide range of topics and issues.

Adults who exhibit narcissism tend to prefer Facebook, which works in the same way.

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.

Researchers tried to work out if the narcissistic behaviour was related to the amount of time each subject spent posting, reading posts and commenting.

It divided subjects into two groups. The first tested 486 college students with an average age of 19 who answered questions about the extent of their social media usage. The students also took part in a personality assessment measuring exhibitionism, superiority, authority, and self-sufficiency.

Young adult college students who posted often on Twitter scored higher in certain types of narcissism.

The second part of the study focused on 93 adults with an average age of 35 who completed a similar online survey.

Middle-aged adults narcissists posted more frequent status updates on Facebook, the report said.