If you got a recent promotion, or a new car on Facebook, that's good news, and in the idealized vision of social media it should be shared.
That is just social media marketing talking. In reality, you have probably become convinced that your hard work and success elicits positive emotions and you are probably wrong.
Irene Scopelliti, George Loewenstein and Joachim Vosgerau wanted to find out why so many try to increase the favorability of the opinion others have of them by engaging in more positive self-promotion, which has the opposite of the intended effect.
"Most people probably realize that they experience emotions other than pure joy when they are on the receiving end of someone else's self-promotion. Yet, when we engage in self-promotion ourselves, we tend to overestimate others' positive reactions and underestimate their negative ones," said Scopelliti, the study's lead author and a lecturer in marketing at City University London. "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."
For the study, the researchers ran two experiments to find evidence of the misperception.. A third experiment examined the consequences of the miscalibration, revealing that recipients of excessive self-promotion view self-promoters as less likable and as braggarts.
"This shows how often, when we are trying to make a good impression, it backfires," said Loewenstein, a Professor of Economics and Psychology at CMU. "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."
The researchers believe knowing this could be valuable for both braggers and self-promotion recipients.
"It may be beneficial for people who plan to engage in self-promotion to try to realize that others may actually be less happy than they think to hear about their latest achievement. Recipients of such self-promotion who find themselves annoyed might likewise try to bolster their tolerance in the knowledge that braggarts genuinely underestimate others' negative reactions to their bragging," said Vosgerau, professor of marketing at Bocconi University.