Monday 16 September 2019

What do your Facebook updates really reveal about you?

Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

A COMPREHENSIVE study reveals what your Facebook status updates say about you

The new research indicates that commonly used words on Facebook accounts can determine our gender, age and distinct personality traits.

The study of 75,000 Facebook users at the University of Pennsylvania investigated how the differences in communication like age and gender affect our use of language online.

Women are more likely to use words like "excited", while men are more inclined to swear and regularly use "f*ck".

Even more impressively, researchers could predict a user's gender with 91.9% accuracy.

Teenagers' 'language' mostly relies on emoticons to get their message across, with short sentiments such as "bleh" concluding their sentences.

Twenty-somethings discuss classes and semesters, while those in their mid-20s chat about weddings and work. Over the age of 30, family dominates conversation.

Extroverts are more likely to discuss parties and their own lives, while introverts tend to refer back to the internet (posting links etc) for conversation.

"Emotionally stable" users discuss their social lives, indicating that they "foster greater emotional stability", according to the research.

Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Center said: “When I ask myself, 'What's it like to be an extrovert?’

‘What's it like to be a teenage girl?’ ‘What's it like to be schizophrenic or neurotic?’ or ‘What's it like to be 70 years old?’ these word clouds come much closer to the heart of the matter than do all the questionnaires in existence."

In an email, H. Andrew Schwartz, one of the study's co-authors, stressed that the study's findings do not highlight the topics discussed most among the average male or female, but rather the expressions that set them apart.

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