The Role of Social Media on Personality

Adolescents and young adults are currently among the heaviest users of Internet-based social media applications. Adolescents also use social media websites and tools to interact online, improving interpersonal relationship dynamics. For example, Pokémon Go is a popular augmented reality game where players can socialize face-to-face with other players or interact via social networking sites to build teams, socialize, exchange experiences or ideas, and develop friendships.

Social Media in Today's World

New types of social media have developed and are now widely used due to the Internet. Users of social media and multidimensional platforms can exchange information and discuss ideas by posting, commenting, chatting, and performing other actions. Importantly, these platforms enable quick knowledge access and information exchange, cost-effective and simple communication, and the development of collaborative environments. Social media not only facilitates learning, communication, and collaboration, but it also provides supportive leisure and entertainment environments.

Terzi et al. (2019) stated that social media is a broad field of the internet, which encompasses social network sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), cooperative websites (Wikipedia), professional networks (LinkedIn), gaming websites, and YouTube. These websites have amassed sizable, global user bases of teenagers and young adults. Csikszentmihalyi (1997) pointed out that social media consumers may experience an immersive flow state in various activities. Immersion, according to Jennett et al. (2008), has three characteristics: (1) a lack of awareness of time, (2) a loss of awareness of the real world, and (3) involvement and a sense of being in the task environment.

Impact of Social Media on Personality Development

Recognizing the potential importance of social media use to the development of adolescents and young adults, researchers have been working to identify the effect of social media on personal characteristics. Several researchers have investigated the impact of the "Big Five" personality traits on social media use. The well-known Big Five model divides personality traits into five categories: conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness, extraversion, and neuroticism.

Early inquiries that investigated the link between people's personalities and internet use generally found that extraversion and neuroticism were associated with online activities. Specifically, people who were heavy internet users had lower levels of extraversion and high degrees of neuroticism.

Studies conducted more recently, however, have seen a reversal in the relationships between people's personalities and some types of social media applications. It has been found that more extroverted people tend to be drawn to social media. Studies also show that not just extraversion but neuroticism and openness to experience are also impacted by exposure to social networking. Extraverted people were more connected with others in the "real world" and through social networking sites. A recent study by Quercia and colleagues (2011) found that extraversion is a positive predictor of both the number of friends in the real world and the number of Facebook contacts.

Research has found that more neurotic people prefer instant messaging to face-to-face interactions when it comes to emotional stability or neuroticism. The scholars hypothesized that this preference occurs because instant messaging allows more time to contemplate responses. Thus, it is easier for people who are more emotionally unstable to communicate with others.

Finally, evidence also suggests that heavy social media users are also open to new experiences. High openness to experience is reflected in curiosity and novelty-seeking, whereas low levels are evident in preference for adhering to conventions and established patterns.

Social Media Factors affecting Personality Development

Factors impacting the personality of individuals.

  • Promotion of seeking behavior − It should be noted that the main goal of social networking sites is typically to reach out to society and the world, not to encourage anonymity. The desire to gain popularity and seek approval from others is another factor that goes unnoticed in the widespread use and obsession with social networking.
  • Increasing Depression and Anxiety − According to research, adolescents who use social media more frequently are more likely to experience stress, anxiety, and depression. Numerous studies have discovered a link between emotional distress and the frequent use of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Unreal standards for appearance − Anyone who utilizes social networking sites is familiar with the concept of social media popularity; as a result, individuals may go above and beyond to win the admiration of others in order to gain popularity. People are increasingly becoming materialists and fake on their social networking sites. For instance, they want to develop an image of being beautiful, thoughtful, rich, etc., which can attract the public, and the public can validate whatever the individual is trying to portray.
  • Culture Of Popularity − Websites for social networking heavily rely on profiles. In order to uphold a certain social standard, people spend much time making "cool" profiles. There are instances where this constant need for validation has given rise to suicidal ideation in the minds of budding adolescents.


People are constantly in touch with their friends through social media, the dominant form of communication. In today's date, where the world is on the brink of complete digitization, we cannot help but focus on both the virtues and the vices of social networking and their impact on the development of the world's youth. As speculated by world-renowned scientists, this digitization can take us to new heights of evolution, but only when used with proper guidance and discretion.


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