Facebook Can Reveal a Person's Personality

May 23, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. profile (n.) – a short and informal list of information that describes a person’s life, skill, and/or likings
Example: Companies study the profiles of their employees to make sure they are qualified for the job.

2. personality (n.) – a part of a person’s character (or inner traits)
Example: The man who often jokes around has a pleasant personality.
3. extrovert (n.) – usually refers to a person who is friendly and outgoing
Example: Extroverts usually have a lot of friends because they can easily talk to anyone.

4. do away with (idiom) – to end or to stop doing something
Example: Some people cannot do away from keeping unnecessary things.

Read the text below.

A recent study claims that companies may soon use the popular social networking site, Facebook, as a tool to find the right employee for the job.

Jennifer Golbeck , an American computer science professor, discovered that a person’s Facebook profile—which includes information like favorite books, movies and activities—reveals his or her personality.

After studying around 300 profiles, Golbeck asked the participants to take a personality test which measures their “openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.”

After the said test, she found out that about 10% of a participant’s test score can be known through studying his or her Facebook profile. As an example, Golbeck pointed out how extroverts usually have large networks of friends in Facebook. Meanwhile, those with long surnames tend to be easily angered and worry a lot. Golbeck assumes that this might be because their surnames are repeatedly being misspelled. 

But Sam Gosling, a psychologist from University of Texas, said that there are some aspects of a person that cannot be measured using this kind of study. The study only measured behavior, he added.

However, Gosling admits that social networks provide a new way of studying human behavior and personality which are crucial factors in decision-making.

In contrary, Golbeck claims that this study enables companies to do away with personality tests as Facebook profiles alone make it possible for them to know job applicants.

Golbeck plans to support her claims by conducting another study using Twitter accounts.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you believe everything that you read about a person online? Why or why not?
·         What other ways do you think can be done to get to know people better?

Discussion B

·         How can companies benefit from online profiles like Facebook?
·         What are the disadvantages of using online profiles to find the right employee?

May 23, 2011