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Study: Facebook, narcissism not linked

In this day and age, much of the average American's daily activities consist of using a phone. Whether they're making a call, finding directions or updating a status, they're giving their fingers a good workout.

Some thought that this new and popular routine was a rather rude one, and was something only a narcissist would do. Turns out, that sort of thinking was wrong -- The University of North Carolina Wilmington recently conducted a study that shows Facebook users are not as narcissistic as once thought.

While previous studies showed a correlation between Facebook and narcissism, associate professor Bruce McKinney's new study says otherwise. His new study, Narcissism or Openness?: College Students' use of Facebook and Twitter found no relationship between the social media outlets and narcissistic traits.

McKinney and two professors from the University of Hartford surveyed 233 college students to determine how much time people were spending on social media and whether their usage showed signs of narcissism or openness.

They found that Facebook, a site that was once used for college students to connect, has expanded to reach all individuals, businesses and private institutions as well.

Professor McKinney says his research started when he was in the classroom and his students had their eyes glued to their cell phones and not the blackboard.

"Finally, I said, ‘Geez, how narcissistic is it to sit there when a professor is talking, and to ignore him?," said McKinney. ‘And they try to hide it. But it's not that hard to figure out."

McKinney's study focused on narcissistic traits shown by social media users instead of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He said he may expand on the topic in the future.

"They [narcissists] want to tell everyone what's going on in their lives," he said. "They tend to be preoccupied telling everyone everything. They tend to have grandeur images of themselves. I think that's one of the original definitions."

McKinney's research shows that while it may look like people are using Facebook to inflate their egos, they're really just looking to share their stories and photos with others.

"I don't think we can say people that are in love with themselves are on Facebook, because everyone is on Facebook," he said.

However, when it comes to what specifically people use Twitter for, the tables seem to turn.

"People that want to tweet to everyone what they are doing every day…that's a little self-absorbed," he said.

McKinney is one of the first researchers to look at Twitter and what it means to constantly post updates. His research shows high levels of narcissism if you tweet about yourself, but low levels if you enjoy sneaking a peak at other people's tweets.

While McKinney surveyed folks for his research, he found that the majority admitted to checking their Facebook or Twitter accounts anywhere from 60 to 100 times a day.

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