Friday, January 21, 2011

Talking it up, Facebook Style...What's Really Being Said?

Facebook recently examined how status updates are worded and what this says about the user. The following is what they found.

Younger people: Are more apt to express negative emotions such as anger as well as swear more. They talk about themselves and use such pronouns as "I" or "my" more often. They talk more about school.

Older people: Write longer updates and gravitate towards standard English, using prepositions and articles. They also talk more about their families and other people.

Popular people: Use the pronoun "you" more as well as other second person pronouns. Write longer updates and talk about sports and music. They stay away from talk about their families and are less emotional overall. They use fewer past tense verbs as well as words related to time.

Time of day: People tend to talk about what they are (or should be) doing at a particular time of day. People talk about sleep more at night, with such comments peaking at 4 am ET. Talk about work or school is higher in the morning. Comments about social or leisure activities increase as the day goes on.

Positive/negative words: People use positive emotional words more in the morning. As the day wears on the words become more negative. Status updates with positive emotional words receive more "likes"; those with negative emotional words receive less "likes". Positive emotional updates receive fewer comments while negative emotional updates receive more comments.

Miscellaneous: People tend to "like" a religious comment rather than comment on it. There is a correlation between how much a person uses certain words, and how much his or her friends do. Status updates that use lots of pronouns receive more of both types of feedback. The one word category that correlates most negatively with both "likes" and comments? "Sleep."

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