Want to be the most popular person on Facebook? According to a recent Facebook study of the way people write and react to status updates, all you have to do is write longer status updates, talk about music and sports. Also don’t be overly emotional, don’t talk about your family, don’t refer to time and use the word “you” a lot.
Facebook analyzed the word usage for about one million status updates from its US English speakers. The social network said all identifiable information was stripped from the status updates before they were analyzed, and Facebook team members did not read your status updates for the purposes of this study.
Once the updates were anonym zed, the words were organized into 68 different word categories based on the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count – a text analysis software program. Some examples of word categories used in the study include past tense verbs, prepositions, and religion and positive feelings.
Here’s a look at some of the study’s findings.
Facebook youth are an angry, foul-mouthed, selfish bunch, according to the Facebook study. The company found that young people express more negative emotions than their elders, swear more and use personal pronouns such as “I” and “Me” more often.
Older Facebook folk, meanwhile, write longer prose in their updates, talk about others more often and pepper their language with more prepositions (to, in, at) and articles (a, the, some).
Turns out, most folks on Facebook are morning people. The study found that status updates expressing positive emotions were highest in the morning, and became increasingly negative as the day wore on. So Facebook users – at least the U.S. English speakers – start the day in a good mood, but as the day goes on and the coffee wears off we become increasingly demoralized. How clichéd can you get?
The Blogger’s Secret
Facebook’s study also confirms something that bloggers and Fox News have known for years: negative comments produce more online activity. Sure, Facebook users might click the like button more often on updates expressing positive emotion. But Facebook found you can’t beat negativity for user engagement, as dismal status updates garnered more comments than positive ones. People are also less likely to comment on religious status updates, and rarely comment or like status update referring to sleep.
You’re welcome with your Facebook’s secrets!