You are what you post on FacebookBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—What you do on Facebook could give you away.
A new study led by a Filipino journalism doctoral student found how Facebook habits could measure personality types and predict inclinations—a positive development for targeted advertising and political campaigns.
Released recently by the Missouri School of Journalism, the study conducted by PhD students Edson Tandoc Jr., former Inquirer reporter and scholar, and Heather Shoenberger found patterns on how certain personality types used social media.
“Observing one’s Facebook habits can offer clues to that user’s personality. For example, Facebook uses targeted advertising. This becomes effective if the right ad is targeted at the right person,” Tandoc said via e-mail.
Highest penetration rate
Tandoc said the study should be of particular relevance to the Philippines, known as the “social networking capital of the world.” Citing an online study last year, he noted that 94 percent of Filipino Internet users have Facebook accounts—the highest penetration rate in the world for the popular social media network site.
The study, presented at the International Communication Association Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in May, used a personality scale called the Mini-Motivation Activation Measure to see links between personalities and Facebook habits.
“Using this scale, we were able to find a trend in the patterns of how people with certain personality types use social media. I believe this could really help advertisers and certain types of media groups target potential customers with particular ads on social media sites,” Shoenberger said in a statement on the journalism school’s website.
For instance, the researchers said people who were more outgoing and more adventurous tended to post more frequently, including status updates and photos and interacted more with friends online.
“If by frequency of one’s posts a user can be classified as adventurous, then ads about adventure-related products or services such as bungee jumping or kayaking, as well as ads designed for adventurous people, will be appealing to that user,” Tandoc said.
More “reserved” users scan through their News Feed, which contains posts of their friends, but uses Facebook more cautiously.
The researchers found that these users actually log on more to Facebook, a pattern that can be “counterintuitive but this is actually consistent with the idea that this personality type uses Facebook as a safer way to maintain social relationships than face-to-face interaction,” Tandoc noted.
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