The Secret to Facebook Popularity? Be Shallow and Sexual, Baby!

Posted: 2010/12/27 in Life, Musings, Society, Trends
Tags: , ,

Those who who want to take their people watching into new levels, you don’t need to go out if you want to have a snapshot of humanity’s state of mind in the 21st Century. You need not go to a library, café and read psychology journals anymore to get a sense of what Ego is about. Just join Facebook and you will get a glimpse of the real nature of popularity contests that is prevalent in our world today.

According to Facebook’s data-crunching team, they collected about 1 million status updates into one of 68 different categories, with the help of a text-analysis application called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count. Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) is a text analysis software program designed by James W. Pennebaker, Roger J. Booth, and Martha E. Francis. LIWC is able to calculate the degree to which people use different categories of words across a wide array of texts.

More “popular” Facebook users were shown to avoid status updates featuring an abundance of past-tense verbs or updates related to one’s family life, as well as anything falling within the “time,” “emotional words,” or “present-tense verb” categories. Updates about one’s work life, sleeping, or articles one’s seen didn’t find much company amongst the popular crowd either.

Noting that the `popular’ users largely refrained from speaking about their families and appeared somewhat impassive in their updates, Facebook said: “They write longer updates, and use more words referring to music and sports. More ‘popular’ people also talk less about their families, are less emotional overall, use fewer past tense and present tense verbs and words related to time.”

Facebook status update patterns also differed between those with higher and lower numbers of Facebook friends.

“Popular” Facebook users “tend to use more of the pronoun “you” and other second person pronouns. They write longer updates, and use more words referring to music and sports,” noted the social networking site.

More “popular” people also talk less about their families, are less emotional overall, use fewer past tense and present tense verbs and words related to time.”

Younger people express more negative emotions (including anger) and swear more. They use more pronouns referring to oneself (“I”, “my”, etc.) and talk more about school. Older people write longer updates, use more prepositions and articles, and talk more about other people, including their family.

Posts about work or school were more frequent seen in the morning while words that were linked to leisure increased as the day progressed.

Interestingly, emotional word groups also fluctuated throughout the day. Positive emotional word use was much higher in the mornings (a time when negative emotional word use is low). As the day progresses, positivity decreases and negative word use increases. (To my THETA students, this is called the WHEEL. Get in the hub, be stable.)

Interestingly, the Facebook team also found that users who make use of negative comments in their updates garner less `Likes’, but receive more comments than the ones who use positive comments. I don’t necessarily agree with that since what I have seen are people who can only handle bandaid truths and just echoing of other Sheeples who are also quoting everyone else’s, dear Facebook.

Facebook user’s friends tended to comment more on posts featuring “I” pronouns, “first-person pronouns,” “cognitive processes,” and “present-tense verbs.” The categories of “Insight” and “Causation” ranked high, as did posts themed around “negative emotions.” Few Facebook users had friends commenting on posts related to “sleeping,” “positive emotions,” or “religious (or spiritual) words.” People seem to “like” updates that include sexual words. Words related to death–not so much.

This one is very interesting: Facebookers with many friends tend to use fewer “emotional words” than do members with less friends. Why? Because people are afraid of their own mirrors. TRUTH about themselves is too painful to deal with.

People also prefer to like a religious comment rather than commenting on it (perhaps it’s not a topic they wish to commit to)

Facebook nailed this in one summation: “Birds of a Feather Flock Together”

The word “homophily” literally means “love of the same”. It is the idea that people tend to associate with others similar to them. Homophily was apparent in one part of our analysis, where we looked at the correlation between how much a user uses certain words in his status updates, and how much similar words are used in his friends’ updates shown on his feeds. The correlation plot below shows a clear diagonal line, meaning there is a positive correlation between how much you use words from a word group, and how much your friends do.

There you go, that should make some us feel centered again because we don’t follow the crowd and choose to be REAL and ourselves. Don’t expect any trophies and that is just ok with me. I prefer to be deep, promote quality and decent relationships and use my Facebook pages in a much more meaningful way. The world is already overcrowded with nonsense. I don’t want that in my space. If you are like-minded, you are more than welcome to be my Facebook friend. I’m not on Facebook to collect numbers, I am there to have real friends. I call and communicate with people I connect with outside Facebook eventually. Therefore, I prefer real birds, not mutated and artificial ones. I want YOU, not your ‘image’. Keep that ‘image’ to your shallow friends.

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Comments
  1. […] The Secret to Facebook Popularity? Be Shallow and Sexual, Baby! (via The Universal Fusionist) Posted on March 21, 2011 by jameswith Those who who want to take their people watching into new levels, you don't need to go out if you want to have a snapshot of humanity's state of mind in the 21st Century. You need not go to a library, café and read psychology journals anymore to get a sense of what Ego is about. Just join Facebook and you will get a glimpse of the real nature of popularity contests that is prevalent in our world today. According to Facebook’s data-crunching team, … Read More […]

  2. fannyfae says:

    I think that there are more than a few who just don’t think about what they post or why. People have the attention span of gnats – I wouldn’t even credit them with goldfish status. Egos go for eyeballs, eyeballs equal $$ for some. Unfortunately, most of the transmedia universe works on generating buzz, but alas, most people who are on FB, Twitter, etc don’t really wield those tools but are in fact letting the tools wield them. I am kind of ambivalent about those particular outlets and I suppose in my chosen profession, I should value it more and hate it less. People absolutely broadcast who and what they are by what they post. If more realized that, they probably would be less likely to broadcast so much bullshit about themselves.

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