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Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. While Facebook is still the biggest player in the industry, Instagram is quickly becoming the social outlet of choice for many users. What is it that draws most of us to using Social Media? The posting and sharing of photos!

Instagram, Facebook, and Social Psychology

Instagram relies on the old adage “a picture says a thousand words”, being primarily photos with the option of adding short, witty, provocative, or thought-provoking captions, and even more entertaining hashtags. Facebook has largely become a platform where people post albums of photos to show off their lives: Vacations (#paradise), work life (#thegrind), their personal style (#glamsquad), food choices (#chefmode) and more. We all want more followers, better photos, and perfect captions to garner as many “likes” and “reactions” as possible.

This feeds right into the psychology behind social media that has allowed it to explode: Our innate desire to be envied, praised, and accepted by others, in the form of how many likes you get on your picture.

Unsurprisingly, much can be determined about your personality, mental, and emotional state of well-being based on your Facebook Timeline Instagram feed. Read on to find out where you fit on the spectrum of Social psychology!

What Your Facebook and Instagram Posts Say About You

These are some of the most common types of Facebook and Instagram posts and what they might suggest about your personality. Of course, none of this includes professional accounts (for example, a Chef or Restaurant’s account, a professional model, or nature photographer).

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1. Pictures of Food

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It can’t be denied, “food porn” has taken over our Instagram feeds, and with good reason! Who doesn’t love drooling over delicious looking meals, imagining eating the food themselves? Many of us even use Instagram and Facebook to find new restaurants to try.

Posting lots of pictures of food means you like to enjoy life to the fullest. Perhaps you’re excited about dining out and trying a new restaurant, or you created something delicious on your own and want to show your creation to the world. As beautiful as your food may be, however, don’t forget to put down your phone and actually enjoy your matcha latte before it gets cold!

2. Sexy Selfies

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An Instagram feed or Facebook album full of selfies is a major red flag for a lack of self-confidence. People who post selfies on the regular typically have a higher need for recognition and approval, are more vain, and more likely to be narcissistic.

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Sexy selfies (duck faces, wearing revealing or form-fitting clothing, not wearing much clothing, and posing in suggestive positions) can have similar implications as other selfies, however, they can also have a more positive message. The sexy selfie sends the message “I am a sexually liberated woman who can depict myself however I want and am ready to experiment”. While this can be empowering for women, be careful that you aren’t sending the wrong message to your followers about your morals! Sometimes photos like this put you at higher risk for being disrespected by others.

3. Couple Photos

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For many, sharing plenty of photos of themselves with their significant other is a demonstration of their relationship. These photos remind their followers that they are in a committed, loving relationship. It sends the message “I am loved, needed, and appreciated. I am not alone.” An overload of couple shots, however, could be a hidden desire to prove something to themselves, exes, or friends. Sometimes, too many posts like this could also spell relationship trouble: Pics of you and your “bae” can be you trying to convince yourself and your S.O. that you’re in a healthy, loving relationship when you are not.

4. Pictures of Kids

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There are two types of kid photos: Throwback photos (#throwbackthursday) of yourself as a child, or photos of your kids or kids in your life. Posting your own baby photo, besides the push for “look how cute I was!” likes, could mean that you are tired of being an adult and the stress and responsibility that comes with it. It shows a desire to be taken care of by someone else.

Posting photos of your own kids (or nieces, nephews, or other important children in your life) most often is your desire to show that you are a proud parent, and being a parent is a great achievement in your life.

5. Pets and Animals

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People who post photos of wild animals, for example, the lone wolf or a running cheetah, can signal a desire to appear bold and strong. Often, however, this is because they actually lack the confidence or strength they are trying to portray to others.

Posting photos of cute animals and pets shows that you are a sentimental person, and enjoy exercising your nurturing side.

6. Inspirational Quotes

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If we are being honest with ourselves, who doesn’t love a good inspirational quote every once in a while? That being said, recent studies show that people who post quotes on a regular basis are of lower intelligence than the rest of the population. Quote-posters are more likely to believe conspiracy theories and other thoughts or ideas that have no logical basis for them. They are also more likely to be religious (which is not related to intelligence!) (1)

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons people post motivational quotes. Perhaps you are a motivational speaker by trade, or you went through (or are going through!) a difficult time in your life and want to use your experience to spread positivity and inspiration to others who may be going through the same thing. Often when going through a difficult breakup, the loss of a loved one, or any other major life transition, we find comfort in the right words, ones that seem to nail the exact emotions we are feeling. Sharing those words on social media is a way to not only help others but also a good reminder to ourselves that we can weather the storm.

Instagram and social media is a fun way to share your life and stay connected with friends and family. It can become harmful, however, if we become dependent and base our self-worth on the number of likes or followers we have. Be sure to incorporate regular social media breaks in your life, and if you think you are struggling with self-confidence, have relationship problems, or any of the other issues mentioned in this post, make sure you reach out to someone who can help.

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