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Your personality on social media

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Your personality on social media

Who are you – really? You could be an OCEAN or a CANOE but apparently not both at the same time. These are a couple of the classifications of personality according to the Five Factor Model. Long before that there was the Myers Briggs which tended to classify personalities as ENTP, ISTJ and more. It is thought that five factors form the framework for describing all human personality types – animal types being something entirely different. Generally an individual’s personality type was extrapolated from answers on questionnaires. The prevailing wisdom used to be that the individual is the best judge of his own personality. But in the age of social media, these same personality traits could be gleaned from a person’s social media posts. If indeed your personality is a combination of your emotions, attitudes and behavior patterns then it’s all there on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media pages.

With social media, the data is thought to be more objective than your responses on a questionnaire. When you post something on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites, you aren’t necessarily giving much thought to it. The response you give in a Tweet could be almost a reflex action on your part. On the other hand, when you are sitting in a room, answering questions about your personality, you tend to reflect your assessment of yourself rather than your actual behaviors. On the other hand, every pin on Pinterest, every emoticon, every like on Facebook, every follow and friend request, tells a little bit about you, whether you’re aware of it or not. Researchers at a university in China recently conducted a study using Renren, which is the Chinese equivalent of Facebook, and found correlations between the personality types as measured by questionnaires, and the types extrapolated from social media posts. And if in hierarchical order you are discovered to be Open, Conscientious, Extraverted, Agreeable and Neurotic, you could be an OCEAN – else just rearrange the letters.


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