Your Facebook profile seems managed, right? Nope. It’s your true self.

Facebook Profiles

1 billion people used Facebook this past Monday, which is essentially 12 percent or so of the Earth. That’s some reach.

Personally never been of the belief that “social media” is an actual relationship,  and I think that’s kind of a tipping point for the next couple of generations coming through this crazy dance we refer to as “life.” It seems, on surface, that most people have a personal brand they throw up on social — but their actual life might be a lot different. Social media sometimes seems like you’re curating who you are, right?

Apparently not. Check out this research from Stanford University:

I think that, in a way, Facebook and other social media might be conveying information that is closer to our true selves than what we reveal in a face-to-face interaction. It’s rather easy for people to misrepresent themselves in, say, a half-hour-long interview or on a first date. It’s much more difficult to monitor your appearances and opinions in years of your Facebook history.

True, true … and it’s because of this:

Few Facebook likes are so obviously linked with personality or other traits as to allow a human to use them in forming accurate judgments. Language used in status updates or tweets might be even less informative for us humans, as the amount of personality-related information contained in each individual like or word is very small. Computers, however, are very good at combining thousands or millions of subtle pieces of information to arrive at accurate predictions. We humans, with our limited ability to simultaneously process more than a few facts at a time, are rather bad at it.

That right there is the inherent promise of “Big Data.” Essentially: we know exactly who you are and what you want because of a million intersection points of other things you’ve done, so now we’re gonna jam product down your throat. Big data should someday mean big money, but … it doesn’t yet. If anything, it’s confusing most people.

But that’s interesting: it always seems like people are throwing their best feet forward on Facebook and curating who they are, right? (Except for those who vaguebook like crazy: “OMG, WORST DAY EVER”) But in reality, if you add up your history on FB, it might be a tremendously accurate picture of who you are.

This all said, very few humans are checking every like their friend has ever thrown at a brand/friend photo, so … it probably doesn’t work at a micro, day-to-day level.


Ted Bauer

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