Teresa Correa,  Amber Willard Hinsley, Homero Gil de Zúñiga

Abstract

In the increasingly user-generated Web, users’ personality traits may be crucial factors leading them to engage in this participatory media. The literature suggests factors such as extraversion, emotional stability and openness to experience are related to uses of social applications on the Internet. Using a national sample of US adults, this study investigated the relationship between these three dimensions of the Big-Five model and social media use (defined as use of social networking sites and instant messages). It also examined whether gender and age played a role in that dynamic. Results revealed that while extraversion and openness to experiences were positively related to social media use, emotional stability was a negative predictor, controlling for socio-demographics and life satisfaction. These findings differed by gender and age. While extraverted men and women were both likely to be more frequent users of social media tools, only the men with greater degrees of emotional instability were more regular users. The relationship between extraversion and social media use was particularly important among the young adult cohort. Conversely, being open to new experiences emerged as an important personality predictor of social media use for the more mature segment of the sample.

Keywords

  • Internet, Social media, Instant messages, Social networking sites, Big-Five, Personality.

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