Ever wondered what your Facebook news feed tells others about you? I know that I often stalk myself more than I stalk others on social media--examining my own approach to posting and what others take away from it. Turns out that your Facebook status updates can actually tell you more about yourself than you think.

Psychologists at Brunel University London surveyed Facebook users to analyze the personality traits and motivations behind each status update. The results, they discovered, tell us much more than we previously thought. A total of 555 Facebook users participated, also completing online surveys that measured aspects of their character such as extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness--as well as self-esteem and narcissism.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that people with lower self-esteem posted more regularly with updates about their current romantic partner. Narcissists, on the other hand, posted more about themselves, as expected. They would more routinely update Facebook with notifications of their latest achievements in order to receive validation from their online community.

Interestingly enough, however, posts about achievements by narcissists actually received more comments and likes--gaining attention from the greater public that potentially fuels even more bragging on social media.

Updates on your diet and exercise routine also indicated increased narcissism, as those who posted aimed to draw attention to their physical appearance and the fact that they were working on it.

Although at a glance, a status update seems more harmless than harmful, it's important to recognize where the posting comes from--and how the way the general public reacts drives those who post to continue doing so. For example, many "friends" on Facebook will simply like an egotistical post due to the fact that so many others have liked it, even if they find the post or person annoying in real life.

Being conscious of the consequences of our actions can aid us in pursuing better behavior--and life habits--in social media, as well as in real life. Know who you support, what kind of behavior you're prolonging, and why, so that you can post stellar statuses to come.

Published on: Aug 23, 2016