By James Wallace Harris, Wednesday, July 8, 2015
When I browse Facebook to see what my family and friends are doing I feel that I’m the odd man out. Most people post about their social activities – going places and doing things with other people. I’m retired and seldom get out of the house. I like it that way. But I get the feeling my posts on Facebook are atypical. Instead of going somewhere physically, I pick an idea and write about it for my blog. So when I do make an entry on Facebook I just link to my essay. The ideas I explore are the interesting places I visit.
I suppose I could have checked-in when I was at the dentist’s yesterday, and uploaded a selfie with Dr. Brawner and Caroline, the lady who cleaned my teeth. Last night I went over to Janis’ house to fix her vacuum cleaner, I could have snapped pictures of her disassembled Hoover and her dogs Zoe and Jolie getting in the way. Instead I posted a link to my blog about getting a general education after we leave school. I wonder which would have been more interesting to my Facebook followers?
Facebook is a fascinating phenomenon. It seems to be the perfect tool for keeping up with relations. In the old days you’d see your relatives on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Facebook lets you see what they are doing year round. Since Susan and I have no children it lets us keep up with nephews and nieces. But I must appear to be a rather eccentric uncle.
I don’t think my blogging is very interesting to my Facebook family. I get the most likes when I do something normal, like go to a movie or a concert. Which makes me think I should do more normal things to have something to put on Facebook. Now, it’s different with my Facebook friends. Most of the people I know on Facebook that are like me, post about ideas rather than activities. Usually, it’s about inspirational sayings, politics, liberal and conservative causes, news, technology and funny videos.
This makes me think that there could be interesting psychological studies done on what people post about on Facebook. I wonder if they could classify Myers Briggs personality types by Facebook posts or likes? Would other INTJ people makes introverted posts like mine? Could an artificial intelligence program analyze Facebook and classify people in new way? If I had the patience and time I could probably study Facebook regularly and come up with some classifications on my own.
“Myers-Briggs and Social Media Report” does classify M-B types by social medial usage. However, if you look at this Google search, you’ll see that lots of people are exploring this idea. “Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior” is one scientific paper (warning it’s hard to read).
But do I need to read scientific studies to know I’m an fringe type on Facebook? Not really. What I really think is interesting is how people reveal more about themselves on Facebook than they do at casual social events. Which makes me wonder, how many people create public faces for their social media that’s not their true selves? Remember high school and worrying about popularity? I never did. I was a dorky geek. But for those people who did worry about popularity, I’d think they’d carefully curate their Facebook personality.