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Personality on Social Network Sites: An Application of the Five Factor Model

  • Stefan Wehrli

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    In this paper we explore how individual personality characteristics influence online social networking behavior. We use data from an online survey with 1560 respondents from a major Swiss technical university and their corresponding online profiles and friendship networks on a popular Social Network Site (SNS). Apart from sociodemographic variables and questions about SNS usage, we collected survey data on personality traits with a short question inventory of the Five Factor Personality Model (BFI-15). We show how these psychological network antecedents influence participation, adoption time, nodal degree and ego-network growth over a period of 4 months on the networking platform. Statistical analysis with overdispersed degree distribution models identifies extraversion as a major driving force in the tie formation process. We find a counter-intuitive positive effect for neuroticism, a negative influence for conscientiousness and no effects for openness and agreeableness.

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    File URL: http://repec.ethz.ch/ets/papers/wehrli_studivz_big5.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by ETH Zurich, Chair of Sociology in its series ETH Zurich Sociology Working Papers with number 7.

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    Length: 17 pages
    Date of creation: 05 Sep 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ets:wpaper:7
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socio.ethz.ch/

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    1. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers, 2007. "Meeting Strangers and Friends of Friends: How Random Are Social Networks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 890-915, June.
    2. Cameron, A Colin & Trivedi, Pravin K, 1986. "Econometric Models Based on Count Data: Comparisons and Applications of Some Estimators and Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 29-53, January.
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