Social Media Users' Self-Perceptions Don't Align With How Others Perceive Them, Leading to Misconceptions

A new study found that social media posts about a person like their status can lead to some misconceptions. This is because many social media posts lack context and the people viewing the posts see the person in a different light. The study also showed that people who see the social media posts of a person think that the person is open to sharing his personal life and has low self-esteem, that's why he posts on social media.

The researchers brought out the question of whether people can guess about a person’s personality and their lives from their social media posts. The answer to that is no. What people perceive about a person from their Facebook status is different from what the person is in real life. Users who frequently post about their lives say that they perceive themselves differently from their social media posts.

Users sharing status updates are often perceived as open and having low self-esteem, creating misconceptions.
Photo: DIW - AI-gen

The team of this survey gathered 158 undergraduate students and questioned them about different characteristics like extraversion, independence, interdependence, openness, and self-esteem. They were also asked to show their last 20 Facebook status. The statuses were reviewed by two groups. One group reviewed images, links, and other multimedia formats while the other group reviewed only text. This study concluded that viewers had a different perception of users than the users had of themselves. For instance, many users said that they do not find themselves open and have lower self-esteem while the viewers saw them as such. Many users also said that the real reason why they use social media is to find connections with individuals.

On the other hand, the group who was observing only multimedia updates of the users had similar views about the users that the users had of themselves. This means that instead of text, users present them more accurately in the form of images and other forms of multimedia. This way the viewers perceive them more correctly than they perceive about users through text.

Researchers question if social media reflects real personalities; findings suggest a significant discrepancy.

Read next: Does Reducing Social Media Usage Make You Happier? This Study Says Yes
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