Social Media Sites Are Full Of Narcissists; Baby Boomers On Facebook, Millennials On Instagram

social media
Social media trends may be shifting, but Americans' love for themselves is eternal. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

A recent Pew Research report has confirmed what the average 16-year-old could already tell you: “Facebook is out and Instagram is in,” at least with the younger generation that is. The report found that while Facebook is still the most popular social network site around today, for the first time ever more than half of its American users are aged 65 and older. What does this shift in social media preference say about the psychology of its users, though?

As reported by The Week, Facebook is used by 71 percent of Internet users in the United States aged 18 and older. Not only do nearly three quarters of all U.S. adult web users own a Facebook account, but according to data collected by Pew Research, around 70 percent check their Facebook site daily. Still, despite this obvious upper hand, are Facebook’s days numbered? Research suggests this may be true, as more and more young Americans are now choosing to share their photos over Instagram. According to the report, roughly half (53 percent) of all young adults between 18 and 29, use Instagram.

A separate study found that although age does seem to be involved with the decision to use Facebook or Instagram, activity level was more closely dictated by the user's level of narcissism. In a 2014 study, researchers asked social media users to complete a Narcissistic Personality Inventory as well as record how often they tweeted and/or updated their Facebook status during the routine day. The results showed that narcissism was the “primary driver” for these social media updates. Interestingly, this narcissistic motivation was more closely observed in Twitter users than Facebook users.

Although narcissism seems to be in abundance among millennials, this is not necessarily a bad thing. BrainCraft explains in its YouTube video “The Upside of Social Media Narcissism” that this narcissism created by social media has caused young people to become more self-aware, and in time more likely to go after something they desire. Furthermore, their social circles are wider (also due to social media), which makes it even easier to get what they want.

Other social media networks, although not as popular as Facebook and Instagram, are also continuing to grow in number. For the first time ever, half of all Internet users with a college education are using LinkedIn. Also, Pinterest isn’t doing too badly, with around 42 percent of female Internet users frequenting this site.

Source: Duhhan M, Ellison NB, Lampe B, Lenhart A, Madden M. Social Medical Update 2014. Pew Research. 2014.

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