Say what? Facebook profiles capture true personality, according to new psychology research

Facebook profiles capture true personality, according to new psychology research

Online social networks such as Facebook are being used to express and communicate real personality, instead of an idealized virtual identity, according to new research from psychologist Sam Gosling at The University of Texas at Austin.

“I was surprised by the findings because the widely held assumption is that people are using their profiles to promote an enhanced impression of themselves,” says Gosling of the more than 700 million people worldwide who have online profiles. “In fact, our findings suggest that online social networking profiles convey rather accurate images of the profile owners, either because people aren’t trying to look good or because they are trying and failing to pull it off.

“These findings suggest that online social networks are not so much about providing positive spin for the profile owners,” he adds, “but are instead just another medium for engaging in genuine social interactions, much like the telephone.”

Strange. They suggest that ‘genuine social interactions’ presumably convey ‘true personality’ rather than spun persona. How do you square this with Goffman’s “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life,” which asserts we’re always spinning a public persona.

Maybe when I get the paper instead of the press release ….

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