Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

June 24, 2011

We KNOW You Will Like This: How Businesses Will Be Using Your Personality to Sell You More

Personality tests litter the internet. 

A rare few are legitimate, well-researched and appropriately worded tests that can give a pretty accurate indication of an individual’s tendencies and preferences in theoretically sound areas.  

Most are simply not worth the megabytes they take up – but, hey, if they are a fun diversion, or maybe start the process of informed self-discovery, then what’s not to like?

One online personality test however, based around respected and established research, is available free of charge to the largest social networking site in the world and is currently being used to collect information from any of its 687 million users who complete it and sign the disclaimer allowing it to be used. 

“myPersonality” is in fact a number of personality questionnaires developed for Facebook by graduate psychology researchers David Stillwell and Michal Kosinski.  At their last count, there are currently over a million monthly users of the questionnaire and a significant proportion allow the researchers access to their anonymised data.

In academic terms this is a goldmine – albeit one of a self-selected sample of Facebook users who choose to complete the questionnaire – and Stillwell and Kosinski go to great lengths to make both the data and the platform available to other researchers.  We can expect some fascinating research findings to emerge very soon.

However, Facebook users are customers.  They are targeted by advertisers constantly and they already give away much invaluable personal information that help advertisers target their audiences and send selective messages to those people most likely to buy.  Will big business be able to use the data on someone’s personality to sell to them better?

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