Consumer Psychology

Study: Heavy Twitter Users and Adult Facebook Users Suffer from God Complex

A new (Sep 2013) study published in the academic journal Computers and Human Behaviour shows that heavy Twitter users and adult Facebook users tend to suffer from a superiority complex (“God Complex”), over indexing on the superiority dimension of the Narcissism Personality Inventory scale (below).  Younger Facebook users, on the other hand, over-index on the exhibitionist narcissism dimension.

Take this Narcissism Personality Inventory scale test yourself – or test a colleague (or boss); read each pair of statements below and place an “X” by the one that comes closest to describing your feelings and beliefs about yourself. Responses consistent with narcissism are shown in bold, and a preponderance of bold responses indicate narcissistic tendencies – a condition previously known as megalomania.

So what does this mean for social media marketing?  First, know that you if you do social media marketing, you are marketing to narcissists. This means you need to appeal to people who are more likely cheat in game-play and romantic relationships, take more resources for themselves and leave fewer resources for others, value material things and be obsessively concerned with their outer appearance.

And for Twitter campaigns, particularly to younger adults, know that you are marketing to people who feel superior to others.  Adapt your  campaigns accordingly.


1. ___ I really like to be the center of attention 
___ It makes me uncomfortable to be the center of attention
2. ___ I am no better or nor worse than most people
___ I think I am a special person
3. ___ Everybody likes to hear my stories 
___ Sometimes I tell good stories
4. ___ I usually get the respect that I deserve
___ I insist upon getting the respect that is due me 
5. ___ I don’t mind following orders
___ I like having authority over people 
6. ___ I am going to be a great person
___ I hope I am going to be successful
7. ___ People sometimes believe what I tell them
___ I can make anybody believe anything I want them to 
8. ___ I expect a great deal from other people 
___ I like to do things for other people
9. ___ I like to be the center of attention 
___ I prefer to blend in with the crowd
10. ___ I am much like everybody else
___ I am an extraordinary person 
11. ___ I always know what I am doing 
___ Sometimes I am not sure of what I am doing
12. ___ I don’t like it when I find myself manipulating people
___ I find it easy to manipulate people 
13. ___ Being an authority doesn’t mean that much to me
___ People always seem to recognize my authority
14. ___ I know that I am good because everybody keeps telling me so  
___ When people compliment me I sometimes get embarrassed
15. ___ I try not to be a show off
___ I am apt to show off if I get the chance 
16. ___ I am more capable than other people 
___ There is a lot that I can learn from other people



Mirror or Megaphone?: How relationships between narcissism and social networking site use differ on Facebook and Twitter, Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 29, Issue 5, September 2013, Pages 2004-2012

The University of Michigan study assessed 486 college students and 93 adults

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

1 comment Add New Comment

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