Self-Promotion on Social Media May Backfire


Presenting yourself in a favorable light on Facebook can have the opposite intended effect.

Presenting yourself in a favorable light on Facebook can have the opposite intended effect.

New research published in Psychological Science studied the fine and sometimes blurred line between celebrating yourself and bragging.

Researchers examined how self-promotional behavior, which is supposed to instill positive feelings toward an individual, can make a person less likeable. Through 2 experiments of the misperception of self-promotion and 1 experiment of how peers react to self-promotion, the researchers found individuals overestimate the amount their peers will feel happy for or proud of them, and they underestimate the level of annoyance caused by the behavior.

The results of the study could potentially be helpful to those who use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—where users can edit or filter aspects of their lives in order to appear happier and more successful.

“These results are particularly important in the Internet age, when opportunities for self-promotion have proliferated via social networking,” said lead study author Irene Scopelliti, who conducted the research at Carnegie Mellon, in a press release. “The effects may be exacerbated by the additional distance between people sharing information and their recipient, which can both reduce the empathy of the self-promoter and decrease the sharing of pleasure by the recipient.”

Study author and marketing professor Joachim Vosgerau added that those who witness self-promotion in their daily lives or via social media might want to try to boost their tolerance of the behavior.

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