Response to “Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media” (9/12 post)

          The internet and its capabilities scare me. When people talk about their digital footprints and how nothing once posted online is ever fully “deleted,” I wonder what things will come back to haunt me. I’m very careful about the things I post. I’m confident that nothing I’ve posted will seriously harm me, but I still know that anything I post could potentially show up after a simple google search of my name. For this reason, the fact that social scientists and market researchers can access my posts and analyze my words, all without me knowing that they’re doing so, creeps me out. I would consent to them doing just this, but I wouldn’t want it done behind my back. 

          The article made me think about my online voice. I think that voice can be interpreted as more than just literal text, especially with the growing forms of social media. My voice can stand for the types of pictures I post or the frequency of my posts. I don’t tweet, but voice could also include what I hashtag. I consider my online voice to be more like my online activity. Regardless of this distinction, one’s online voice provides telling facts about a person. For example, I’ve noticed that people who are new to Facebook, such as middle schoolers, post frequently, as do some adults.  Certain people post pictures daily (once muploads, now iOS 7 photos) and the pictures vary depending on the types of activities in which the user is involved. I’ve noticed that girls seem to post pictures more often and that these pictures can be anything, not just ones from a special event.  As I mentioned in my Facebook profile profile post, I don’t post much on my account, and when I compare myself to my Facebook generalization, I don’t fit in.  On the other hand, if I consider my Instagram account, I think I fit the description of a typical female Instagram user pretty accurately—I’m careful to post “just the right amount”, create amusing captions, and have landscapes, food, and friends all represented on my page. I think that I would be more of an outlier in a Facebook study and work with the curve in an Instagram study. I wonder why I “change” or have different “personas” on the two sites, especially because I think that I’m pretty accurately represented on each account. I think the nature of the site and its associated stigmas play a role in the difference. I’m curious how the vocabulary/voice study would change depending on the site that is under consideration. 


One thought on “Response to “Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media” (9/12 post)

  1. I completely understand and agree that it is scary that nothing from the internet is fully deleted. I have never actually understood this concept because it can be hard to grasp (how can you leave no visible trace of something yet still have it exist?) but it’s the truth. I like what you said about how your “online voice” is more like your “online activity.” It’s an interesting way to describe it, but because our online voice is portrayed through our online activity it makes perfect sense to connect the two even more.
    It seems like over the past year or so, the popularity of the social media sites has been slightly adjusted. Even though Facebook is still used all the time, Twitter and Instagram seem to be the ones that people resort to if they’re looking to post things more often. I think part of this is because all three are used differently, and Facebook is now mainly for communication whereas the other two are more for entertainment. I don’t believe that that’s the only reason, but I can’t think of another one. I wonder why it matters that people use the other social media sites, or if it matters at all? If scientists are looking to do research on social media sites, would they find more legitimate data from Twitter and Instagram as opposed to Facebook? Like you said, for many people all of these contain accurate descriptions, but they are descriptions of different aspects of each person. It goes back to being multi-faceted and being able to show who you are in more than one way, which I believe is a great skill to have.


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