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VIRGIN MOBILE CANADA EXPOSES THE HUMBLEBRAG: New study shows half of Canadians humblebrag

TORONTO (ONTARIO) January 15, 2015

Last year, Virgin Mobile Canada revealed that Canadians “love thy selfie”. While duck faces still dominate our social feeds, another trend is gaining ground, the humblebrag. Recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary, the humblebrag is defined as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.” To understand the good, the bad and the ugly, Virgin Mobile Canada teamed up with Vision Critical to survey Canadians who are familiar with the trend. The results are in and they’re something to post about.

“While a picture is worth a thousand words, 140 characters can still pack a punch, especially if they’re used for self-promotion,” said Joseph Ottorino, managing director, Virgin Mobile Canada. “Love it or hate it, the humblebrag may just be this year’s selfie.”  

Virgin Mobile Canada’s study found that while 75 per cent of Canadians surveyed say they rarely brag, nearly half (44 per cent) admit to humblebragging. Sixty per cent of Canadians opt to humblebrag to avoid sounding like they’re boasting when they share an accomplishment. But, Canadians claim that half of all humblebrags they see are about someone’s appearance followed by materialistic items. So, there’s a discrepancy between what Canadians admit to humblebragging about versus the types they claim to see.

Do Canadians love thy humblebrags? No, their relationship status is complicated. While Canadians aren’t fans of boasting, they dislike false modesty more. In fact, the majority of Canadians feel it’s better to hold the humble and straight up brag.

So how can we share our activities and opinions without the false modesty of the humblebrag and avoiding unbearable boasts? We asked TV personality and self-proclaimed humblebrag expert Jessi Cruickshank to help us identify five ways Canadians can toot their own horn without blowing it:

  1. Don’t go overboard. According to Virgin Mobile’s study, 59 per cent of those surveyed believe the worst humblebrags are those where folks claim to look bad when they know they don’t. So don’t overload your feeds with selfies questioning your beauty, it’s obnoxious. But being pumped about a new job opportunity or wedding proposal is totally ‘like’-able. Balance your brags and ensure they are only a small portion of what you share.
  2. Stop mistaking pride for bragging. Being proud about something isn’t the same thing as rubbing your new shoes or front row seats into everyone’s feeds.
  3. Make it funny. Humour diffuses anything. If you can find a way to share while cracking a joke, it will make your followers laugh instead of unfollow. 
  4. Do away with the #humblebrag hashtag. Sixty-one per cent of Canadians surveyed say adding the hashtag still doesn’t make your boast acceptable. So skip the hashtag, and let your post speak for itself.
  5. Haters gonna hate no matter what. It's pretty easy to take a shot at someone who has put themselves out there. While not everyone will love your post-worthy moments, remember that you do. Stand by your accomplishments and don’t take the negativity to heart. For every hater, there’s a fan and hey- at least you’re giving them something to talk about. 

“We’ve all had those moments where we’ve hovered over someone’s ‘unfollow’ button. Their ‘busy’ party nights, ‘make-up free’ selfies and not-so-humble status updates can be too much. But we’re also excited to ‘like’ or re-tweet if our friends share something awesome,” said Jessi Cruickshank. “Should we take a page from Kimye: shed the false layer of modesty? I believe if you want to post something truly share-worthy, do it loud and proud!”

Worried about being labelled a bragger or humblebragger? Let Virgin Mobile share your awesome accomplishments for you. Send something you’re proud of, but don’t want to brag or humblebrag, to Virgin Mobile Canada’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and they’ll post it on your behalf.

A Few More Humblebrag Findings:

  • More than a third of Canadians who have humblebragged (38 per cent) don’t even realize they’re doing it.
  • Sixty-five per cent of Canadians surveyed believe humblebrag is the new “selfie”.
  • Seventy-four per cent of Canadians who humblebrag do it in person and 21 per cent do it on Facebook. However, most people (64 per cent) say they see it most on Facebook.
  • While men and women humblebrag equally, women are more likely to humblebrag about their appearance.

About the survey

From November 24 to November 25, 2014 an online survey was conducted among 1,136 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists comfortable answering a survey about the concept of humblebragging. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.9%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language), Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Virgin Mobile Canada

At Virgin Mobile, you’re not a customer, you’re a Member and “Members Get” exclusive deals from awesome brands, a shot at VIP access and one-of-a-kind experiences to events in Canada and around the world. That's on top of super-hot smartphones on ridiculously-fast LTE speeds and plans with loads of extras built right in! Virgin Mobile Members and Canadians can do some good in their local communities by helping empower at-risk and homeless youth in Canada with Virgin Mobile RE*Generation. Wanna hook up? There are loads of ways: head online or call 1-888-999-2321 to get in the know. Get personal with Virgin Mobile Canada on FacebookTwitterInstagram or Pinterest.

For more information, please contact:

Sheryl Davey Kerametlian, Virgin Mobile Canada



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