Twitter versus Facebook: Exploring the role of narcissism in the motives and usage of different social media platforms
Originally Published In
Computers in Human Behavior
The amount of research on social networking sites (SNS) and narcissism is accumulating quickly requiring greater levels of variable specification and more fine-tuned hypothesis testing to clearly determine the relationships among key variables. The current investigation examines two of the most popular SNS, Facebook and Twitter, formulating hypotheses around the specific features of each site within college and adult samples. Unlike previous research that has focused almost exclusively on SNS usage, we focused on active usage (i.e., SNS content generation) as opposed to passive usage (i.e., SNS consumption) and included reasons for usage as a potential black box in the narcissism to SNS usage relationship. Results suggest that the features of Twitter make tweeting the preferred means of active usage among narcissists in the college sample, but not the adult sample, who prefer Facebook. In fact, we found no significant direct or indirect relationship with active usage on Facebook for the college sample, calling into question popular press articles linking Millennial narcissism with Facebook use. Additionally platform differences (i.e., microblogging versus profile-based) may explain the importance of active usage on Twitter relative to Facebook. That is, with Twitter, narcissistic motives for usage all manifest through tweeting while Facebook provides other mechanisms to achieve narcissistic motives.