Do we project our true personalities on our social media accounts? While many people use social media as a way to express themselves, others see it as an opportunity to present a false persona. So, how telling are our Twitter posts about our personalities? A study published in Computers in Human Behavior suggests that our online behavior does, in fact, reflect our true behavior.
Social media has risen in popularity and lead people to question how social interactions and behaviors compare to real life. It is generally understood that people leave traces of themselves on their social media pages. Research has focused on finding models to use on social media that predict the personality of the users and found that being inauthentic online can be correlated with criminal behavior.
Researcher Rhea Mahajan and colleagues sought to predict the personality traits of 100 Indian Twitter users, using the big five personality trait model, which includes extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness. The sample comprised of 47 male participants and 53 female participants whose ages ranged from 25 to 41. Researchers used their last 500 tweets and retweets. Participants also completed a measure assessing their big five personality traits. Researchers extracted features from tweets to attempt to predict personality traits.
The results showed a 75% accuracy rate of this model predicting big five personality traits of Twitter users. This is a higher accuracy rate than previous research that attempted to measure the same thing. Results also showed that Twitter users high in the personality traits of agreeableness and extraversion tended to have more followers, while users high in neuroticism had less followers. Overall, the data supported that online interactions and personalities are comparable to offline social interactions and personality traits.
This study helped further research understanding the relationship between online personalities and real-life personalities, in addition to proposing a model that significantly predicts personality traits from social media posts. Despite these benefits, this study had some limitations. The authors used a small sample comprised of only Indian participants. This makes it difficult to know if results would generalize. Future research could focus on expanding and using this model with other populations.
The study, ““Are we tweeting our real selves?” personality prediction of Indian Twitter users using deep learning ensemble model“, was authored by Rhea Mahajan, Remia Mahajan, Eishita Sharma, and Vibhakar Mansotra.