If you use any form of social media, chances are you have had multiple encounters with humble bragging. We all brag. In fact, a study published by two Harvard researchers concluded that bragging produces the same psychological pleasures as food and money (Tamir and Michell). While humans might have a natural inclination to brag, social media has magnified the yearning and capability to show off. However, no one wants to be labeled as conceited, bigheaded, or boastful. Thus, people turn to humble bragging in order to receive a desired level of attention.
This might seem to be a more modest approach to advertise oneself; yet, it is actually quite the opposite. In fact, people see right through it quickly and turned off by it. Additionally, using social media does not remove the negative effects of bragging. Tooting one’s own horn behind a screen results in people rolling their eyes at a post as they hostilely scroll away from it. Social media expert Karen North, Ph.D., of University of Southern California says “humble bragging is disingenuous.... it's manufactured modesty as a disguise for overt bragging.” If someone is concerned about being labeled as an egotist they are better off to just honestly celebrate their accomplishments with people who actually care about them. Humble bragging still appears as bragging but also proves that one lacks genuineness.
People work hard to succeed, reach goals, and attain what they want. Hard earned victories are worth celebrating. However, there is a fine-line between celebrating and bragging and the difference normally stems from a deep craving for attention. To avoid the detested humblebrag, here are some questions one can ask themselves before they hit "post".
Would you do it if you could not post about it on social media? If the answer is no, don’t post.
Would the majority of the people seeing the post want to celebrate with you? If you think less than 50% of your followers would care about your post, then you should save the news for the people you know will be excited by your message.
Are you posting because someone else did and you want to get on their level or one up them? No. Do not post. Pursue self-reflection.
Does getting likes make you feel better about yourself? If you are asking yourself this question, it may be time to take a break from social media altogether.
If someone else posted what you are about to post, would you be annoyed? If the answer is yes, no further explanation is needed.