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Facebook Social Networks

How To Be Popular On Facebook, Quantified 97

Posted by timothy
from the logically-the-yankees-suck dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Network World reports that Facebook has just released an analysis of the word usage for about one million status updates from its US English speakers with the words in updates organized into 68 different word categories based on the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC)--a text analysis software program that calculates the degree to which people use different categories of words across a wide array of texts. The results? To be popular on Facebook all you have to do is write longer status updates, talk about music and sports, don't be overly emotional, don't talk about your family, don't refer to time and use the word 'you' a lot. 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."
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How To Be Popular On Facebook, Quantified

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  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday December 26, 2010 @05:21AM (#34669270) Journal

    I think I'll die now.

    • Re:You can win (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @08:05AM (#34669674) Homepage

      The only way to win facebook is NOT TO PLAY.

      • assuming that it is even a game...
        • by monkyyy (1901940)

          it is; its like a drinking game while diving and first one to od or crash* wins(or if everyone gives up/ arrested the person with highest blood alcohol wins)

          *crash defined as 2 cars getting totaled or a death

        • by Pompz1 (1940858)
          If you hang out with the right kind of people, everything is a game.
      • The only winning move is to play, perfectly, waiting for your opponent to make a mistake.
      • Win Facebook, still be a geek LOSER. I think of all the stories I've read on /. this one has to be the one with the least amount of interest for me.
        • by ultranova (717540)

          Win Facebook, still be a geek LOSER. I think of all the stories I've read on /. this one has to be the one with the least amount of interest for me.

          And yet you still felt the need to comment on it.

          How's it feel like being a geek LOSER, loser?

      • by arisvega (1414195)

        The only way to win facebook is NOT TO PLAY.

        My sig applies

      • by wmanoble (1959458)
        With a game, fair play....
    • by Dabido (802599)

      You can't win, you can't break even and you're not allowed to quit the game.

      Every major -ism believes you can break one of these rules.

      Capitalism believes you can win, communism believes you can break even and religion believes you can quit the game. :-)

  • Sneer sneer, jeer.
  • Look out... (Score:5, Funny)

    by sdnoob (917382) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @05:28AM (#34669284)

    Here come the "Facebook optimization" services ("FBO") charging $999 for more friends, guaranteed !!

  • Yes, absolutely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoccoBill (1569533) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @05:28AM (#34669286)
    Doing those things will make you popular. The fact that people who are open, not selfish and overly dramatic may have more friends probably has nothing to do with this.
    • If you have any evidence of a positive correlation between friends and "Facebook friends", now is the time to present your paper.

      • Thats a good point. My sister has 400 facebook friends. I don't know how she keeps up with them all.

      • Re:Yes, absolutely (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:34AM (#34669458)

        If you have any evidence of a positive correlation between friends and "Facebook friends", now is the time to present your paper.

        I know it is popular to sneer at Facebook on Slashdot (which is kind of ironic given the similarities between two community internet sites people spend time posting stuff on hoping it is of interest to others, but mostly not), but this "they are not real friends" argument really baffles me. As there can be only one kind of relationships, that was defined face to face in a cave at the dawn of time and can never change. Social structures change, the way people relate and communicate change. People I have on Facebook are there because I know them (they are still in the hundreds), they sometime share and/or discuss something interesting or funny, and it is sometimes ok to catch up this way, quite a few live in other countries. If they spam with uninteresting stuff I'll just remove their updates from the news feed, done.

        • Damn, already posted on this thread. +1 Insightful.
          I admit I never looked at things this way. I always sneered at all those "so-called" facebook friends. I still don't think I will jump on the FB bandwagon anytime soon, but at least I will understand/accept it a bit more.

          • by devxo (1963088)
            I moved to live in Thailand around 6 months ago. This was the first time I noticed the true power of Facebook. Everything was there - people I met, places I visited, lots of pictures of the new city I would be living at and most importantly, I discovered lots of interesting new things, like a couple that bakes bread and other stuff we eat only back home and I could order from them. You didn't even really need to know so much specifics, because everything was interconnected when just knowing a few people. Ge
            • by Sanat (702)

              Where in Thailand are you... if you are allowed to say?

              In the military (60's) I had orders for "Bomb disposal" in Udorn, Thailand which was very near Laos and a stones throw from North Vietnam. Lots of "Special Ops" and other stuff occurring there. That is all a distant memory anymore.

              Thanks for sharing your insights.

          • by vux984 (928602)

            I admit I never looked at things this way. I always sneered at all those "so-called" facebook friends.

            Despite the GPs post that facebook "friends" have their apropriate niche and how he's neatly integrated facebook into his life in a healthy and reasonable way. And despite the handful of inevitable me-too posts, the reality is that most people haven't looked at it that way and approached it that way... Including most facebook users.

        • Re:Yes, absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

          by hedwards (940851) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @09:18AM (#34669878)
          Slashdot isn't a social networking site. I'd hazard that only a small portion of the people here actually use the journal, and those that do use it as a way of submitting a short article.

          Slashdot is essentially a blog with user submitted articles that people comment on. The only reason why there's a karma sytsem at all is to help filter out the known trolls and crap posters, and it does an alright job of that.

          Or in other words, apart from a very superficial, community of people posting on a subject there isn't really a whole lot of similarity.
          • There was an attempt at a real community here, but it ultimately failed, with many members migrating en mass to other sites, due largely to /. having really poor tools for social stuff. I think /. would be better off if it did embrace the community aspect a bit more, at least providing the tools needed to those that are interested.

            • by Anonymous Coward
              Slashdot is like democracy. It sucks major ass, but at least it's better than anything else we've ever tried. The comments here are very very enlightening much more so than any other website I've seen, but the stories suck, editors suck, and the comments themselves quixotically suck. (every good comment has like 50 comments so bad, the universe weeps)
              • Yeah, the comments here are better, even better than Ars, Anandtech, etc, which always surprises me, given how much better the articles at those places are. That's the moderation system at work though - if I use a flat view, with all comments visible, my opinion of the comments here suddenly drops like a rock.

        • I know it is popular to sneer at Facebook on Slashdot (which is kind of ironic given the similarities between two community internet sites people spend time posting stuff on hoping it is of interest to others, but mostly not), but this "they are not real friends" argument really baffles me.

          It shouldn't baffle you if you've spent any time at all in the real world. On the internet, someone is just a face and a name, and any deeper relationship is delusion. There are no expressions, no gestures, and no intonation, and most importantly, no physical aspect, so talking and interacting are only a shadow of what they are in the real world. I would argue that the depth of friendship is dependent on the depth of interaction, and using the internet as a medium necessarily restricts that.

          Social structures change, the way people relate and communicate change. People I have on Facebook are there because I know them (they are still in the hundreds), they sometime share and/or discuss something interesting or funny, and it is sometimes ok to catch up this way, quite a few live in other countries.

          "Sometimes sh

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I know it is popular to sneer at Facebook on Slashdot (which is kind of ironic given the similarities between two community internet sites people spend time posting stuff on hoping it is of interest to others, but mostly not), but this "they are not real friends" argument really baffles me.

            It shouldn't baffle you if you've spent any time at all in the real world.

            I clearly haven't spent any time in your world.

            On the internet, someone is just a face and a name, and any deeper relationship is delusion.

            Who said I only know them on the Internet? It's just one of several ways to interact.

            There are no expressions, no gestures, and no intonation, and most importantly, no physical aspect, so talking and interacting are only a shadow of what they are in the real world. I would argue that the depth of friendship is dependent on the depth of interaction, and using the internet as a medium necessarily restricts that.

            And, tell me, how do you keep up this intense face to face contact, which seems the only thing that counts, with friends living on the other side of the world?

            Social structures change, the way people relate and communicate change. People I have on Facebook are there because I know them (they are still in the hundreds), they sometime share and/or discuss something interesting or funny, and it is sometimes ok to catch up this way, quite a few live in other countries.

            "Sometimes sharing or discussing something funny" is NOT a qualification for friendship.

            Jesus man, lighten up. I said it was one aspect. What do you do with friends at a pub?

            Websites do that. TV shows do that. Neither of those entities are friends, and neither are the actors, characters, or writers related to them. I agree that social structures change, but that's exactly why we can draw a distinction between a Facebook friend and a real friend. Having a hundred Facebook friends is the equivalent of a celebrity having a hundred fans. Are they people that say they like you? Sure. Might you like them back? Yeah, it's possible. Could you get something valuable out of the relationship? Sure, why not. But at the end of the day, these are names you know, or rather, names that know you. The relationship is shallow, much more shallow than a true friendship.

            Thanks for putting me, my life and my friends in your place.

            "There is no greater love than this, that one lays down his life for his friend." THAT'S a real friend. How many of your Facebook "friends" would do the same? How many of them could EVER conceivably do the same?

            You're very black and white categorical about being either a "real" friend

        • Mod++ The problem seems to stem from the Facebook use of the word 'friend'. If they called it 'acquaintance', or 'connection' there probably wouldn't be such a big deal. But using the word 'friend' seems to strike a nerve with so many people, I wonder why that is? I've never heard anyone give anyone stick for having lots of Linked-in 'friends'.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        If you have any evidence of a negative correlation between friends and "Facebook friends", now is the time to present your paper.

        • Re:Yes, absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

          by hedwards (940851) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @09:21AM (#34669898)
          No evidence required. It was a response to the GGP's assertion that there was a positive correlation between number of facebook friends and number of real world friends. There is no reasonable basis for the assumption that there was a connection.

          It's rather clever of you to turn it into a false dilemma, given that there could be a positive correlation, a negative correlation or no correlation at all. Rather deft of you to ignore that last one.
    • by TitusC3v5 (608284)
      An easier route is just to be young, attractive, and female. Instant friends*, guaranteed.

      * Stalkers and creepers inclusive.
      • Don't forget to account for the increase in # of unwanted female enemies generated by being "young, attractive, and female". "She is such a slut!"

        Seems to come with the territory.

  • This just in (Score:5, Informative)

    by Titoxd (1116095) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @05:37AM (#34669308) Homepage
    Trolling people encourages replies in online fora.

    News at 11
  • new mod... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @05:48AM (#34669342)

    "+1, negative"

  • we are finally going to get a dislike button?

    just wondering...

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:03AM (#34669400)
    From the charts, they range from -0.04 to +0.10 for the classifications given. Now I'm no statistician, but those ranges of values don't seem to be much more than a slight tendency. They certainly don't seem to me to be "dead cert" formulae for getting more comments or likes.
    • Quoting from the "official" reply on the wall

      The measure for correlations used is r. We would actually expect the correlation coefficients to be low, since there are so much more to status updates not captured by the word counts. The correlations coloured are statistically significant, though.

      ...so your observation is correct.

      On the other hand, from my own experience, the decisive factors in determining the "popularity" of a status update are
      1) real-life popularity of that person (you don't add only virtual "friends", do you?) and
      2) that person's tendency to "like" and repeatedly comment on his own status updates
      Now I'm no statistician as well and I have no studies to back me up. Duh.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Online popularity is not the same as real life popularity. Online I can have a hot chixxor avatar and become popular quickly without having to really work for it. Occasionally, I can post hot pictures of women and talk about things that appeal to everybody.

        Do that for a while and word of mouth grows. As opposed to in real life where I'd be expected to meet most of those people, or at least notice that they exist.

        Doing that is almost certain to guarantee a huge number of "friends" but really once the n
  • by GF678 (1453005) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:04AM (#34669404)

    This story is about as far from Slashdot's slogan as you can get.

  • by orange47 (1519059) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @06:31AM (#34669454)
    to be popular you need to be fast enough to firstpost, talk about what happens in Soviet Russia, praise the laser-equipped sharks as new overlords.. etc
    • by alexhs (877055)

      The problem being that "Funny" points don't give you any karma... Early copy-pasting parts of TFA seems more efficient. Or "correlation != causation" negative posts.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not me. There are enough ways to invest precious life-time without utterly wasting it.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @07:02AM (#34669528)

    "...all you have to do is write longer status updates, talk about music and sports, don't be overly emotional, don't talk about your family, don't refer to time and use the word 'you' a lot.

    Uh, don't talk about family? Don't refer to time? What's next, we shouldn't talk about friends either? Seems to me they're kind of missing the whole point of Facebook. I don't think it was meant to be a sports and music site.

    And what kills me is since when did Facebook need to become a popularity contest? There's no "winner" for who has the most "friends". It's an extended address book to stay connected with friends and family when you really break it down. YOUR friends and family, not friends of friends of friends families (kind of starts sounding like the old jokes that start with "my cousins best friends sisters roommates dog groomer"). And all the other bullshit on there (games, polls, puzzles) are all just revenue streams for Facebook, which don't really change the whole point of the site.

    And as far as people who run entire businesses off Facebook and nothing else, do yourself a favor now and stop being cheap and just get your own domain and host your own site. Because when the popularity of Facebook dies, so will your company.

    • They never even define "popular". I would assume popular means the number of friends you have or some other metric. There are people on FB that have a good number of friends that are really obnoxious (at least to me) to have as friends on FB.

      A friend of mine on FB who has over 4,000 friends is a nationally known guitar player/singer in a band.

  • Facebook's study also confirms something that bloggers and Fox News have known for years: negative comments produce more online activity.

    I would say the slashdot editors know it too. (And if you disagree with this post, I'll know you're only doing it for the karma).

  • Seriously?! I thought Facebook was a means of staying connected with one's own friends?

    --
    If you've got more than a couple of hundred "friends" of Facebook then it's not Facebook that you need, it's your own wikileaks...

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @09:45AM (#34670000)

    ...are so grade school. Why are people so incredibly self-centered, self-absorbed, and egotistical? Those are exactly the type of people I wouldn't want to have as "friends".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ...are so public school.

      FTFY

  • What I'm seeing is that using certain keywords will attract people to your site. What a discovery! If only someone had figured this out a decade ago we could have, I don't know, some sort of "engines" to help us with our searches for stuff that interest us.

  • "don't talk about your family": subconscious rule to suppress the guilt both FB posters and readers might experience due to the fact that spending time on FB is by definition cheating (== stealing time from your family). Somehow I sense a similarity of this rule with the Mickey Mouse universe, where parents don't exist (only uncles, aunts, nieces and cousins).

    "don't refer to time": subconscious rule strongly related to the previous one (spare time should be spent with the family) and also used to suppress t

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