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5 Psychological Reasons Sharing Every Little Thing On Social Media Won’t Make You Happier

We all have that one friend who shares way too much on Facebook. This friend drives us crazy with pitiful, annoying, over-the-top updates and photo posts every five minutes.

Even though we cringe each time we see his or her status, we just can't seem to click “Unfriend.”

These people take to the social media platform to air out anything and everything they deem worthy of sharing (even if the general population disagrees):

Look how cute my Kylie Jenner-inspired haircut is!

I’m so pissed I couldn't get a reservation at Table 9 for Saturday night

So annoyed! Our babysitter canceled on us last minute! No dinner with the hubs now. Ugh!

Jef and I broke up again. Where my single ladies at? LOL :/

They're annoying as f*ck for thinking we care about what happened when they were standing in the checkout line at Rag & Bone, or what happened when Little Tommy didn't go down for a nap.

Hate them and their incessant status updates as we do, what if there were a few real reasons to explain why these over-sharers do what they do best (worst)? Turns out, they may just be trying like hell to fit in.

Here are five reasons why we can’t stop oversharing on Facebook:

1. Bragging about our beaus shows how confident we are in our relationships.

Look, no one is going to boast when sh*t goes sour, so it makes sense that couples who are feeling confident and secure in their relationships are going to take to your news feed to flaunt it.

Pictures, posts and #humblebrags about how delicious the gourmet canned tuna was — which their boyfriend made for them — are all just to show, once and for all, how jealous we should be of their BPA-free domesticated bliss.

The latest research from Albright College, led by Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D., backs that up. Seidman and her colleagues found that lovebirds are using Facebook not only to show how satisfied they are with each other, but also to make themselves feel more secure.

Folks with Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem (known as RCSE) use Facebook to reinforce their love and also to keep tabs on their partners.

Looks like big brother isn't the only one watching.


2. We can finally be the people we've always dreamed of being.

You know, because taking up space on planet earth and living and breathing aren't enough to make us feel purposeful while we're here. Likes and comments? That'll keep us going, for damn sure.

In a study published in Computers in Human Behavior that took place in early June, Seidman and her team from Albright College found that Facebook users feel most like their “true selves” when they're logged in – and getting noticed.

According to research, Facebook users who felt able to effectively communicate the type of person they strive to be (you know, always attending parties or hanging out in fields littered with sunflowers and the backdrop of the world's most perfect lighting), were most likely to disclose information about themselves online.

These are the same people who post those melodramatic and emotional status updates that we all love to hate.


3. It's as good as sex.

When you vent about the clerk that side-eyed you after you forked over 43 coupons, or the waitress who spilled your white wine at your favorite restaurant, it feels just about as good as getting laid, you guys! Who knew? (Not me.)

Based on the research collected from the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at Harvard University, our brains respond to self-disclosure on social networks (like Facebook) in the same way we would respond to mind-blowing, heart-stopping, feels-so-good-you-might-just-ask-for-seconds sex.

Led by graduate student Diana Tamir, researchers conducted five separate studies involving 300 people. Tamir concluded,

When you look at the neural regions generally associated with rewards like money or sex or food, those same regions seemed to respond more robustly when people were engaging in self-disclosure than when they were not.

From the evidence we see, there are a couple of different metrics of value — both monetary and neural — that show that self-disclosure is subjectively rewarding to people. It’s valuable. It goes towards explaining why people do it so often.


4. We're all just a little lonely.

Let's all give The Beatles the round of applause they deserved for being years and years ahead of their time; when the five-some sang about “all the lonely people,” they were just foreshadowing all of today's Facebook users.

Australian researchers from Charles Sturt University in South Wales studied 616 female Facebook users’ profiles by monitoring 308 “lonely” users (based on the fact that they'd stated this feeling in their most recent posts) and recording what they saw.

Researchers found that “lonely” users were more likely to post their home address and other information, while 98 percent of these users listed relationship status publicly.

Seventy-nine percent shared their favorite films and books because “they want to make it easier for others to initiate contact with them, which may help them overcome their feelings of loneliness.”


5. Single girls want everyone to know how cool they are.

Results from a 2010 study, dubbed Examining Students’ Intended Image on Facebook: ‘What Were They Thinking?!,’ found that oversharing on Facebook boils down to just one thing for single females: looking cool.

Co-authors of the study Katherine Karl and Joy Peluchette noted that Facebook users who didn't mind strangers viewing their profiles were way more likely to post inappropriate content and to portray a sexually appealing, wild and/or offensive image to come off “cool” to people who were suddenly taking notice of them.

Makes you think twice before pressing “update,” huh?

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr

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Kylie McConville

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Kylie is the deputy editor and in charge of managing the women's lifestyle team. She's most likely tired, so be nice to her, okay?
Kylie is the deputy editor and in charge of managing the women's lifestyle team. She's most likely tired, so be nice to her, okay?

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