Youve done something amazing and you want to tell all your friends about it. How you choose to spread the word online says a lot about you, says Ben Ambridge

How you choose to share personal achievements on social media says more about you than you think. Caution: you may not always create the impression you were hoping for

Suppose you have achieved the most prestigious award available in your line of work. How would you share the news on social media?

(a) Not at all.
(b) Drowning in interview requests since I won that Oscar. Sorry if Im slow getting back to you just cant keep up with them all!
(c) Still cant believe they gave me an Oscar. What were they thinking?
(e) Cant keep up! Stressed out!

If you said (a), congratulations on your self-restraint a rarity these days. If you said (b) or (c), then you are officially a humblebragger; someone who tries to tone down their bragging with a dose of either (b) complaining or (c) humility. If you said (d), you are just a straightforward bragger; if you said (e), a straightforward complainer.

A recent Harvard Business School study found that both (b) complaint-based and (c) humility-based humblebrags were less effective than (d) straightforward brags or even (e) straightforward complaints. Both types of humblebragger were rated as less likeable than straightforward braggers or complainers. Also, (b) complaint-based humblebrags (the most common type) were rated as worst of all. So if youve achieved something great and you just cant keep it in, dont humblebrag, just brag maybe because its more honest, its more likeable, too.

A fully referenced version of this article is at Order Are You Smarter Than a Chimpanzee? by Ben Ambridge for 11.04 at

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Bragger or complainer: how do you share online? Quiz | Ben Ambridge
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