According to a new survey by Realbuzz.com, social networkers in the UK fall into one of five common typologies, or character types to you and me.
Behavioural psychologist Donna Dawson analysed public profiles on social networking sites to investigate how UK web users build their social network profiles and the way in which they portray themselves to others online. It also considered how users word their messages and profile postings to other community members.
The five distinct user groups are Enthusiasts, Self-Confessors, Philosophers, Critics and Cynical Clowns.
Cynical Clowns see it as a necessity to comment upon social issues in an outrageous way while Self confessors over-exaggerate their flaws in order to come across as more human and loveable. I suppose that's one way of looking at the groups of teenage girls that find it hilarious to post pictures on Facebook of themselves so drunk that they've fallen asleep at a bus stop, relieved themselves in the street or flashed their body parts at passers by. However, I don’t find them loveable I just wish they’d get drunk at home so I can enjoy my Saturday night without having to worry about where I am walking.
If the behavioural analysts didn't look so deeply at social networking they might see its just simply bit of fun – a chance to share digital pics without clogging up inboxes and a way to while away the time at work between lunch and the trip to pub on Friday evenings.
Cynical Clowns (anyone remember one member of pop group Blue telling us all on 12th September 2001 to stop worrying about America and look at the plight of elephants?), Self Confessors and the other personality groups listed aren’t found on Facebook and other social networking sites – instead they can be found regularly stumbling out of bars such as Mo*vida, Pangea and Mahiki without underwear. The five common personality groups bear more resemblance to Z-list celebrities than the average Facebook user.
Curious to see which social networking typology I was, I visited Realbuzz.com and took the test. Although it didn’t analyse my habit of using Facebook to spy on ex-boyfriends, it did tell me I’m a self-confessor. In a nutshell, this means I need to confess my weaknesses and past sins in order to give myself the sense of a fresh start, which I will usually do with self-deprecating humour. So I guess now is the time to admit that I have an expensive addiction to shoes, cheesy 80s music and watching reruns of Baywatch. I'm not sure I've given myself a fresh start – instead just more of a chance for you to chuckle at my bad taste in music!