Seminar details

Grand Amphi - INRIA - Montbonnot
5 September 2011 - 10h00
Personality and Language in Social Media
by Daniele Quercia from Cambridge University

Abstract: In Facebook, we studied the relationship between sociometric
popularity (number of Facebook contacts) and personality traits. We
tested to which extent two prevalent viewpoints hold. That is,
sociometrically popular Facebook users (those with many social
contacts) are the ones whose personality traits either predict many
offline (real world) friends or predict propensity to maintain
superficial relationships. We found that the strongest predictor for
number of friends in the real world (Extraversion) is also the
strongest predictor for number of Facebook contacts. We then verified
a widely held conjecture that has been put forward by literary
intellectuals and scientists alike but has not been tested: people who
have many social contacts on Facebook are the ones who are able to
adapt themselves to new forms of communication, present themselves in
likeable ways, and have propensity to maintain superficial
relationships. We will see that there is no statistical evidence to
support such a conjecture. In Twitter, instead, we tested whether
users can be reduced to look-alike nodes (as most of the spreading
models would assume) or, instead, whether they show individual
differences that impact their popularity and influence. Again, one
aspect that may differentiate users is their character and
personality. The problem is that personality is difficult to observe
and quantify on Twitter. It has been shown, however, that personality
is linked to what is unobtrusively observable in tweets: the use of
language. We thus carry out a study of tweets and show that popular
and influential users linguistically structure their tweets in
specific ways. This suggests that the popularity and influence of a
Twitter account cannot be simply traced back to the graph properties
of the network within which it is embedded, but also depends on the
personality and emotions of the human being behind it. After
introducing both studies, we will discuss theoretical implications of
our findings as well as practical implications for viral marketing and
social media security.

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