21 Things Science Says Your Facebook and Instagram Feeds Reveal About You
This article originally published Aug. 24, 2017.
What you post online and how you use social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram can say a lot about you.
In fact, a number of studies have revealed social media's connection to a person's mental health, well-being, intellectual capacity and more. And while social platforms have helped make the world more connected, they've created new challenges. For example, recent research found that people who frequently browse Instagram are more likely to shows signs of depression than others. Another study found that people who identify their religion on Facebook tend to use more positive language on the platform.
From emotions to religion to diet -- social media is affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, and your Facebook and Instagram feeds reveal a lot more about you than you probably think.
Here are 20 things your social media feeds say about you, according to research.
Your 'perceived audience' can cause you to censor yourself.
Many of us think before we speak to express ourselves clearly, avoid offending others and present a curated version of ourselves. The same is true on social media, based on research into drafted or self-censored Facebook posts and comments.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook examined data of more than 3.9 million Facebook users over a 17-day period, and they found that 71 percent of them self-censored at least one post or comment they’d drafted during that time. People are most likely to change their mind about what they’ve typed up at the last minute when what they’ve prepared was meant for a specific group audience. The researchers also found that males are more likely to censor their own Facebook posts, especially when most of the their Facebook friends are also male. However, males and females in the study were equally likely to censor comments on posts (13 percent of the time).
People with depression post more frequently on Instagram.
You’ll be unhappy if you spend too much time on social media apps.
Social media can skew your memories.
When it comes to social media, you want to put yourself in a positive light. That means publishing happy photos and sharing good times -- typically through a filter. And while social media seems like a great place to store your memories so you can go back and recall them later -- that may not be the case. One study found that because people post mostly positive items on social media, when they look back at their photos, they are recalling false "happy" memories that actually skew significant events with inaccurate portrayals.
Your religious affiliation influences the language you use on Facebook.
The more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to feel isolated.
Today, social isolation is becoming a larger epidemic than obesity in America. And a contributing factor to this is social media. While many might think social media helps people feel more connected and build relationships, it can actually do the opposite. A recent study found that people who spend more than two hours a day on social media have twice the odds of feeling socially isolated than those who spend less than two hours.
Having a lot of "friends" on social media doesn’t make you more social.
People who post a lot about their romantic partner on Facebook are more likely to have low self-esteem.
Just looking at the Facebook logo can make you crave visiting the social network.
Too much social media can disrupt your sleep.
Today, with today's technology at our beck-and-call, it can be difficult to get a good night's rest. Social media platforms can disturb your sleep. One study found that one in five young people wake up regularly throughout the night to check or send messages on social media. Another study, where 1,788 U.S. adults answered questionnaires about their sleeping and social media habits, discovered that people who claimed to have high levels of sleep disturbance were people who obsessively checked their social media accounts.
You have different personas for each platform.
Users under 25 are less likely to smile in their profile pictures.
Texting and being on social media too much can turn you into a jerk.
Emotions on Facebook are contagious.
Getting more Facebook “likes” won’t make you feel good.
Posting “food porn” on Instagram can help you lose weight.
If you're looking to drop a few pounds, try posting a few shots of your favorite food. While you might think this would have the opposite effect and in fact trigger weight gain, a recent study found that people who post images of their food or recipes are more prone to eating healthy and even losing weight.