Turns Out That People Are Actually Pretty Honest About Themselves Online

from the myth-debunked dept

Many people think that when people set up their online social networking profiles, they may be prone to... exaggerating a bit. Given that they can control what they say about themselves, many have posited that those profiles really represent an idealized version of themselves. Yet, perhaps that's not true. Jose Luis Campanello points us to a recent study that found that people actually tend to be pretty honest in their social networking profiles. This really doesn't seem all that surprising when you think about it. I would guess that the results might be a bit different if they looked at dating sites, rather than social networking sites. On a social networking site, you're connecting with a lot of people you probably already really know in real life. As such, it makes little sense to present much of an idealized version of yourself, because your friends already know you -- and might even call you out for being fake. Still, as the report notes, there are still some people who believe that the norm is for people to lie about themselves, when the truth is that, in such realms, people really do tend to be pretty honest. And that's a good thing.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    FatGiant (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 6:53pm

    Not only good...

    ...but necessary.

    When you start social networking you need to base yourself on who you truly are. Other then that, you are not only exposed to be deemed fake, but, completely ruin your efforts of building any kind of network.

    So, it's no wonder.

    What I feel you left unsaid, is that even the lies will actualy tell who you are. Also the choices of not divulging certain details, also tells volumes about you.

    :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

      Re: Not only good...

      "Also the choices of not divulging certain details, also tells volumes about you."

      Yeah, that's the biggest thing. Nobody says:

      I am a stalker.

      I am a pedophile.

      I am going to kamikaze the IRS.

      The FBI is outside my door.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Chargone (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:19pm

        Re: Re: Not only good...

        people say that last one more than you'd think, i suspect...

        but rarely seriously :D

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 6:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Not only good...

          I think I agree with you Chargone. Hang on... Someone's knocking. I believe the FBI is outside my door. Probably because I said on my public profile that I'm going to kamikaze the IRS.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      The Pope, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:22pm

      Re: Not only good...

      I imagine that a social networking site is the ONLY place people might tend to be honest about themselves. In other avenues, such as message boards and games, my personal experience points to the reverse. You know the saying, "on the internet, everyone's an expert".

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:49pm

      Re: Not only good...

      as Buddha once said, there are three things you can't hide for long. The sun, the moon, and the truth.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chucklebutte (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:44pm

    Im honest!

    I try to be upfront and completely honest on any and all social networking platforms. I want to make connections not end them! Add me or just check me out its why I PUT MYSELF out there I want to be found! Really bothers me when people believe so much hype when really they know nothing of the subject and just rely on fear. Sad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Nate (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:56pm

    Expand the Domain?

    In my experience with online games (PC) I've found that this honesty has held true for all the online friends I've later met in real life so far. This hasn't surprised me at all (my parents on the other hand lol...). I've always figured most everyone was just an average person using the Internet like myself. Any one else ever meet online friends before and found the same results (or not)?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    The Mighty Buzzard, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 8:39pm

    honesty

    Yes, I am in fact an actual buzzard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 10:13pm

    In real life, I am a 200 pound black woman named Sheniqua.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    JLE, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Identity

    It would help if the article defined criteria the study found truthful. I imagine people are honest about their age, location and marital status.

    However, no person has an objective view of himself or herself, and interests and knowledge base change in people as they experience, learn, and grow. Their favorite movie might not be honest if they've just seen a new one deemed the new favorite.

    Articles like this are too oversimplified to hold meaning.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 6:42am

    So someone does some investigation of an issue they think is interesting and Masnick who never even thought of the question before looks at the result and pronounces "This really doesn't seem all that surprising when you think about it."

    That's not surprising since the primary purpose f the blog is to point out that Masnick is smarter than everyone else and so people should pay him for consultancy rather than attempting to understand stuff by themselves.

    But if we think about it a bit we might notice that while Masnick likes to write incendiary blog posts and get people very worked up, he likes to describe him self as an easy going laid back kind of guy ..... of course he could be honest but deluded, but everyone who knows him will have to laugh at his description of himself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 7:00am

      Re:

      Cool story bro!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 8:02pm

      Re:

      "That's not surprising since the primary purpose f the blog is to point out that Masnick is smarter than everyone else"

      Nah, that's what mainstream media journalists tend to do, point out how much smarter they are then everyone else and complain when others present opinions that disagree with you. In fact, I think that's your problem, you think your opinion is better than anyone elses because you're smarter than anyone else and you don't like the fact that no one pays attention to you.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    SPARTACUS, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    I AM SPARTACUS

    NO I AM SPARTACUS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Urza9814, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 7:40pm

    Because of anonymity

    I'm far more honest about myself online than I am offline. Because it's easier to be honest when you're anonymous. And let's face it, people need to be honest once in a while. They need that outlet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    arfnotz, Feb 21st, 2010 @ 7:17am

    on line identity

    I purposely obscure or avoid any personal information on facebook and similar sites. I'm not actully interested in meeting ayone form highschool or college, and I prefer to make it hard for identiy theives. Frankly, Facebook scares me almost as much as Google Buzz.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This