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Caution in Social Media Age: Self-Promotion Can Backfire

Too much self-promotion can offend others, researchers note

FRIDAY, June 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) — In a series of experiments, researchers found that people who self-promote often offend others. The study was published in the June issue of Psychological Science.

Self-promoters typically overestimate the positive reactions to their boasting and underestimate the negative reactions. This means that when people try to improve the opinion that others have of them, they often overdo their self-promotion and trigger the opposite of the intended effect.

“These results are particularly important in the Internet age, when opportunities for self-promotion have proliferated via social networking. The effects may be exacerbated by the additional distance between people sharing information and their recipient, which can both reduce the empathy of the self-promoter and decrease the sharing of pleasure by the recipient,” study author Irene Scopelliti, Ph.D., a lecturer in marketing at City University London, said in a Carnegie Mellon University news release. She conducted the research while at Carnegie Mellon, in Pittsburgh.

“Bragging is probably just the tip of the iceberg of the self-destructive things we do in the service of self-promotion, from unfortunate flourishes in public speeches to inept efforts to ‘dress for success’ to obviously insincere attempts to ingratiate ourselves to those in power,” study coauthor George Loewenstein, Ph.D., a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon, said in the news release.

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