Why People Fake Their Facebook Profile

How much time do you spend thinking of clever status updates, sifting through ideal profile pictures, and formulating witty retorts? Not that much, right? You hate people like that. Us too. Except you probably are someone like that. And so are we.

According to a new study published in New Media and Society, there are two true things about social media: people hate it when people spend a lot of time faking things, and everybody does a little faking of their own.

Examining profiles on Facebook and Last.fm, researchers found “a common belief that sharing content in a way that is considered to be excessive, attention seeking or somehow portrays that individual in a fake manner is judged extremely negatively.”

However, the researchers also found Last.fm users purposely choosing to listen to (or not listen to) certain songs which would help curate the image of themselves they sought to convey. On Facebook, they found lots of users choosing not to share things (songs, articles, status updates) because they feared conveying the wrong image of themselves to other users.

Of course, people have been maintaining social images since long before social networks were a thing, but for better or worse, social networks have kicked social performing into high gear. Here’s our advice: just use Facebook for planning barbecues and keeping tabs on who’s single. Anything more probably isn’t worthwhile.

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