Monday, July 11, 2016

Why introverts don't use social media?

why introverts don't use social media
I came across this very interesting question on Quora asking "Why introverted people don't use social media?"

I am sharing my thoughts based on research I've come across that can help us understand the relationship between a very important personality trait and social media usage.

Introverts do use social media. The author was correct in pointing out that extroverts use social media more than introverts (Recent studies do indicate a positive impact of extraversion and social media use). However it depends on the context and the results have been mixed. In fact early studies pointed to the fact that introverts used social media (chat forums, messaging boards etc.) more than extroverts. I am sharing a few reasons below based on research on personality and social media usage.

Introverts using social media more

Early studies of individuals’ online activities found those high in extraversion and low in neuroticism were not as heavy Internet users as their more introverted, more neurotic counterparts. They hypothesized that the anonymity of the Internet attracted people who were less comfortable with themselves and who otherwise had trouble making connections with others.

Gender, personality and social media usage

Gender differences in early studies of the Internet were also evident – introversion and neuroticism were higher among women who turned to the Internet for its social services, such as online chats and discussion groups (Hamburger & Ben-Artzi, 2000).

Neuroticism, which can be manifested as loneliness, was again linked to women’s Internet use in a 2003 study that posited that lonely women were drawn to the Internet perhaps as a means to reduce their loneliness (Amichai-Hamburger & Ben-Artzi, 2003)

Extroverts and social media use

More recent studies, however, have reflected a reversal in the association between some types of Internet use and personality traits. This may be due in part because of the restrictions on anonymity in certain types of online applications, such as social networking sites. Most people use these sites to interact with individuals they already know, therefore limiting their engagements with strangers (Lampe, Ellison, & Steinfeld, 2006).

Extraverted individuals have many connections with others via social networking sites and in the ‘‘real world,” and also tend to have higher self-esteem (Zywica & Danowski, 2008).

A study of college students found the people who used Facebook less frequently felt less satisfied with their lives, leading the authors to speculate the site could help individuals overcome low satisfaction and low self-esteem (Ellison et al., 2007).

A 2010 study by Correa, Hinsley, and Zúñiga found that extraversion and openness to experiences were positively related to social media use, emotional stability was a negative predictor, controlling for socio-demographics and life satisfaction. These findings differed by gender and age. While extraverted men and women were both likely to be more frequent users of social media tools, only the men with greater degrees of emotional instability were more regular users. There are a few other studies as well that indicate a similar result. In my own research I haven’t found anything significant.