Friday, 15 August 2008

Dear World: What kind of a person blogs?

Blogging - they call it the democratisation of the media. Any Tom, Dick or Harriet can log-on and broadcast their inner-most thoughts to the world. For many, the high-tech diary has become a harmless hobby, in some cases even leading to fame and lucrative book deals. For others, the irresistible lure of sharing their secrets has proven costly; they've lost their jobs. But who are these bloggers? Are some personality types more likely to blog than others?

Rosanna Guadagno and colleagues asked over three hundred students about their blogging habits and asked them to complete the now industry-standard Big Five Personality Inventory.

Around 20 per cent of the students blogged, mostly about their personal experiences. Among female students only, those who scored highly on neuroticism (i.e. anxious, insecure characters) were more likely to blog. This is consistent with work on internet usage that also found an association with neurotic personality types, but only among women. The researchers surmised that nervous women may blog to "assuage loneliness or in an attempt to reach out and form social connections with others."

Among both men and women, those who were more open to experience were also more likely to blog - perhaps unsurprisingly given that blogging is a relatively new phenomenon and given that this personality dimension is associated with creativity.

The researchers cautioned their findings may only be applicable to college students in America and called on future research to look at why people blog. "It is important for social scientists to continue to examine this phenomenon to fully understand its affects on psychological processes that differentiate it from other similar forms of self-expression," they said.

GUADAGNO, R., OKDIE, B., ENO, C. (2008). Who blogs? Personality predictors of blogging. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(5), 1993-2004. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2007.09.001

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

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