Facebook and Personality: What Do Status Updates Really Communicate?
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractFacebook is a social networking site used by many people. A popular feature of Facebook is status updates; which are spontaneous, momentary "mini-blogs" used to describe thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Past research (Back, et. al, 2010) suggests that people can make fairly accurate first impressions about someone's personality based on Facebook. This suggests that Facebook profiles convey information about personality and we argue that status updates communicate information about psychological well-being. The purpose of the study is to look at how well judges can detect personality traits and depression based on Facebook pages. 126 participants saved three months of retrospective activity from their Facebook pages and completed the Big Five Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory. Five judges made ratings of personality and depression from the pages. The results revealed that judges gauged personality and depression with a significant degree of accuracy. Evidence for depressive symptomology in status updates was found - with trait impression management moderating the findings. This study has implications for other people (e.g. friends, counselors) being able to recognize depression through status updates and make accurate first impressions about their personality through Facebook.
Degree ProgramHonors College