Hate Facebook? Love Facebook? Need Facebook?

I have a friend who posts everything she does -- from the restaurants where she drinks wine (holding up the glass to prove it) to the meals she prepares in her kitchen to the new car she bought with a convertible top (posed with a Santa cap and the top down at Christmas), angling for likes.

I guess you would say she's dependent on Facebook

Now a new study says that if what drives you to Facebook is feedback on your posts, or even just news, or games, yup.  You're hooked.

 But that's not necessarily a bad thing, says Amber Ferris, an assistant professor of communication at The University of Akron's Wayne College. at newswise.com.

Ferris, who studies Facebook user trends, says the more people use Facebook to fulfill their goals, the more dependent on it they become. She is quick to explain this dependency is not equivalent to an addiction. Rather, the reason why people use Facebook determines the level of dependency they have on the social network. The study found those who use Facebook to meet new people were the most dependent on Facebook overall.

They found that people who perceive Facebook as helpful in gaining a better understanding of themselves go to the site to meet new people and to get attention from others. Also, people who use Facebook to gain a deeper understanding of themselves tend to have agreeable personalities, but lower self-esteem than others.

"They might post that they went to the gym. Maybe they'll share a post expressing a certain political stance or personal challenge they're facing. They rely on feedback from Facebook friends to better understand themselves," Ferris says.

Or, to show off, is my thinking.

For those of us who don't get to go out and eat a lot, or make great dinners (me and the kitchen are enemies), or get a new car, that's bragging.  (Maybe I'm the one with low self-esteem.)

That's long been my beef with Facebook.  I don't have a very interesting life -- we rarely go out, or anywhere; my son is a great student but so are a lot of his friends, and my work life, is, well, let's just say, not a self-starter, at the moment.

The study also uncovered personality traits common among specific types of Facebook users.

For example, people who use Facebook to establish new relationships tend to be extroverted. Extroverts are more open to sharing their personal information online, but are not always honest with their disclosures, Ferris says.

I wonder if this applies to match.com or eharmony?  I don't think I would go online to meet people.  Sounds a little like looking for Mr. Goodbar.  But then, I'm dating myself.  (Maybe that's the problem.)

Facebook can be a nice way to stay in touch with friends and relatives you haven't spoken to in 20 years (I just hooked up with a cousin I last talked to half a lifetime ago).  And, admit it, a place to let the world know you finally passed the bar exam.

The most positive posts online come from those who have high self-esteem, according to Ferris.
"Those who post the most and are the most positive in posts do so to stay connected with people they already know and to gain others' attention," Ferris says. "This makes a lot of sense - if you are happy with your life, you are more likely to want to share that happiness with others on social media."

I'm not buying it.  I still believe Facebook is for people who like to preen.  But wait, my chicken parmesan for my timeline is almost ready for posting.   


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