Dr. Smartass

Are We All a Bunch of Facebook Phonies?

Do people’s Facebook profiles actually match up with their real-world personalities? Dr. Smartass delves into the science of social network honesty.

By (@doctorsmartass)

December 14, 2009

Got a question for Dr. Smartass? E-mail doc [at] esarcasm.com.

Dr. SmartassThese days, my virtual patients, the world of social networking is as real as the world in which we walk. But how honest are our profiles when it comes to sites like Facebook?

From my inbox:

Dear Dr. Smartass,

My roommate and I decided to start trying to meet chicks on Facebook. He says we shouldn’t believe anything we see in a profile, because it’s all a bunch of exaggerated lies. What do you think?

-Steve

Boy oh boy, Stevie-boy, do I ever have some good news for you. Facebook, it appears, really is everything it appears to be. Generally speaking, anyway.

My esteemed colleagues here at eSarcasm have already touched on the topic of spotting narcissism in a social network profile. Now, new research from the University of Texas further reinforces the idea that what we put online matches up with how we act offline.

The UT researchers had a couple hundred young adults fill out personality profiles. They then compared those answers to the traits depicted on the subjects’ Facebook pages, and — lo and behold — the qualities were the same.

“Is Facebook an opportunity to promote ourselves, a PR exercise? Or is it just another medium of social communication, like the telephone?” the lead scientist asks. “This research suggests the latter. Young adults are using it as a way to communicate and leaving lots of clues about what they’re really like.”

Facebook Phonies(Those “clues,” your dear doc believes, seem to suggest we’re all a bunch of self-centered farmers — don’t you think?)

Interpretations aside, the researchers did forget a few key points:

  • Just because her profile is honest doesn’t mean she isn’t a total Facebook knob. She probably is.
  • You may know what kind of personality she has, but you still have to know the rules of online dating if you want to poke anything other than her Facebook profile.
  • This study focused specifically on Facebook; the same finding does not necessarily apply to other social networks. On MySpace, for example, most of the hot-looking girls are actually 370-pound men. Trust me on this one.

Remember:

The Internet changes the courtship dance;
It’s easier than ever to now get in her pants.
Believe what you read, but always keep track;
That “hot girl” online may be sporting a sac.

Until next time,

Dr. Smartass

(Cartoon courtesy LOLHome.com)






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Comments

  • stephanieslocum

    lol. all the more reason for us to be more discerning. some people are just nothing but phonies….

    • http://esarcasm.com dantynan

      not Dr. Smartass, though. he's 100 percent genuine.

  • http://esarcasm.com dantynan

    not Dr. Smartass, though. he's 100 percent genuine.

  • Dave

    very credible source. I really believe that facebook ” accurately reflect[s] our real-life personalities.”
    Tell the University of Texas people that a couple of hundreds do not suffice for a good survey. Especially if those couple of hundreds were people from Texas…naive. They themselves said 700 million people worldwide have online profiles….what could 236profiles possibly reveal? besides, usually either naive or educated people fill out surveys…not at all the people we're interested in isn't it?
    hence, back to the article that brought me here

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/185324/facebooks

    your little link there on “accurately reflect our real-life personalities” is false mr JR Raphael, sorry.

    don't be fooled and brainwashed, facebook is evil, it's not too hard to see that.
    be free

    • http://twitter.com/DoctorSmartass Dr. Smartass

      I'll be sure to contact the team at the University of Texas post haste, Dave. Keep liberating the masses by posting long-winded diatribes on sites called “eSarcasm,” especially on articles written by someone named “Dr. Smartass.” Way to show 'em, Dave! You, sir, are the Gandhi of the 21st century.

      In other news, if you need any help recovering from your humor bypass surgery, let me know. I have a colleague over at the University of Texas who'd be happy to see you.

  • http://twitter.com/DoctorSmartass Dr. Smartass

    I'll be sure to contact the team at the University of Texas post haste, Dave. Keep liberating the masses by posting long-winded diatribes on sites called “eSarcasm,” especially on articles written by someone named “Dr. Smartass.” Way to show 'em, Dave! You, sir, are the Gandhi of the 21st century.

    And by the way, if you need any help recovering from your humor bypass surgery, let me know. I have a colleague over at the University of Texas who'd be happy to see you.

  • Cody

    Here’s a song and video called Facebook Phoney via youtube http://youtu.be/UKTHWwkIR6Q

  • http://www.facebookdetox.com/ A Facebook Escapee

    People are never who they are really say they are, especially in the dating context.  We all try to make ourselves look better, in an attempt to impress others.  Do you know how many of my friends took a class or two at a school and flunked out or dropped out but put “X University” on their profile.  What do you think a person is going to think when they read that?   That they took a considerable number of classes there and graduated. 

    Facebook is not a true reflection on a person just as what you say is not a true reflection of who you are.  What a person does it public is far different than what one does in private.  But on Facebook, all the ‘good’ is blatantly thrust in your face.  I am glad I am married, as I would NEVER trust a person’s Facebook profile of all things to judge them.  I have known far too many people who are much different than their profiles proclaim them to be (not that they are bad people, but they are not who they say they are on Facebook, the KING of (a)social media.)