A new study in Psychological Reports suggests that personality influences how people use social media. Their findings showed extraverted personalities along with people who have a fear of missing out (FOMO) on fun experiences exhibit more addictive behaviors on Instagram.
“In our study, individuals with higher (vs. lower) FOMO reported a more favorable attitude towards Instagram, followed more Instagram accounts, and reported stronger social media addictive tendencies,” wrote study authors Kelly Moore and Georgiana Craciun.
In this study, college students from a private Northeastern university filled out an online questionnaire that evaluated their personality, social media usage, and FOMO level. They also agreed to have a researcher follow them on Instagram for 18 days so that they could get an accurate assessment of the participant’s social media activity (likes, comments, followers, and photo-sharing frequency).
Results found that the 18-24-year-old age group spent a large amount of time on social media. Over 64% of college students reported spending more than 30 minutes per day on Instagram, and 20% of students reported spending more than 90 minutes per day on Instagram. Women also continued to have higher response rates than men as they followed more Instagram accounts, posted more, and had more followers.
Having an extraverted personality also influenced how people used Instagram. Extraverts reported being very active on social media, however, they reported spending more time on Facebook than Instagram. Researchers also found extraverts had significantly more Instagram posts and likes compared to people with introverted personalities.
Neurotic personalities, people with high anxiety levels and who are emotionally unstable, had a more positive view of Instagram than other personalities. However, this positive attitude towards the social media platform did not correlate to high social activity. People classified as conscientious, hardworking and disciplined, reported spending less time on social media per day. Despite spending less time on the platform, these individuals showed high social media activity.
In terms of FOMO, the study found that people with increased FOMO liked using Instagram and reported high daily use of social media. While FOMO did not affect the amount of posts on a user’s account, people with high FOMO showed greater Instagram activity such as following more people on Instagram.
The study, “Fear of Missing Out and Personality as Predictors of Social Networking Sites Usage: The Instagram Case”, was authored by Kelly Moore and Georgiana Craciun.