Are Stereotypes Of Social Media Users Accurate?

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sally DeFelice (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Rose Webb

Abstract: Stereotypes are developed, in part, as a result of personal experiences with members of differing groups (Jussim, Harber, Crawford, Cain, & Florette, 2005; Koenig & Eagly, 2014), and therefore some stereotypes can be accurate reflections of shared attributes of some groups of individuals (Konig & Eagly, 2014). However, stereotypical or average personalities of groups of social media users have not yet been examined. To a limited extent, previous research has demonstrated that strangers can make valid personality inferences using information about individuals’ social media activities, including social media profiles (Gosling, Augustine, Vazire, Holtzman, & Gaddis, 2011), and Facebook “likes” (Kosinski, Stillwell, & Graepel, 2013). In this study, we attempt to connect these areas of research by examining whether perceived stereotypes of the personality qualities of “typical” users of differing social media outlets corresponded to the personalities of actual typical users. Following the tendency in the larger literature investigating strangers’ impressions of individual targets’ personalities based on limited information, we anticipated strong correlations for extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness to experience in addition to weak correlations for agreeableness and neuroticism. In this study we found a statistically significant correlation between the average self-reported personalities of actual users and perceived personality profiles (i.e., stereotypes) of average users across 12 social media platforms for openness to experience, but not for the other personality factors examined.

Additional Information

Honors Project
DeFelice, S. (2016). "Are Stereotypes Of Social Media Users Accurate?" Unpublished Honor's Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2016

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