Just when you started worrying about Facebook harming your health, new studies are showing that previous research may be exaggerating what Facebook can do to your mental health.
A recent study from the University of North Carolina Wilmington suggested that people who use Facebook aren’t necessarily more narcissistic, just more open, according to a news release.
The study focused on college students, and concluded that most college students are on Facebook and other social media sites. If anything, the definition of narcissism needs to be updated to consider social media usage as a norm.
In addition, people are sharing more information about their lives with more people as a result of Facebook, and that should not necessarily be considered narcissistic, but a part of a new “individualistic culture.”
“Their findings showed that instead of using social media to show off their ego, Facebook users used the site to share their lives with those in their friend circle similar to how they would share photos and stories with friends in person,” according to the news release.
A New York Times article about the study stated that some results suggest that certain Facebook users are more likely to be narcissistic, such as people with an unusually large number of friends. Also, people who use Twitter to Tweet about themselves appear to have higher narcissism scores.
A study from earlier this year also suggested that the more friends people have on Facebook, the higher the possibility they are “socially disruptive” narcissists, according to an article in The Guardian.
Besides having a lot of friends on Facebook, people who scored high on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory tended to post updates and tag themselves more often, as well as switch profile pictures constantly, among other characteristics.
Tom Butero, a licensed social worker and site director of Child and Family Services, a social services agency in Massachusetts, said in an email that it’s important to consider that only in 2008 at least one other research study had completely different results associating Facebook with narcissism.