Self-proclaimed social media scientist Dan Zarrella has already applied linguistic methodologies to psychologically profile Twitter users. Now he’s using the same technology and approach to break down Facebook sharing behaviors.
Zarrella uses the Regressive Imagery Dictionary (RID) and Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) methods to arrive at the conclusion that, “Articles … that include sexual references in their titles are shared on Facebook far more than the average story.”
Zarrella has been actively capturing 12,000 links from news sites and blogs since February of this year for analysis.
As the chart below depicts, Facebook users are extremely fascinated with sex, as sex links are 90% more likely to be shared than other types of content. Links that are positive in nature and/or related to learning rank second and third in terms of shares, respectively.
On the flip side, links with negative tones or pertaining to leisure activities were actually 10% less likely to be shared. Also, self-referential links are only 10% more likely to be shared than the average link. So sex and sharing go hand-in-hand, but those ego links with attitude will slow down the sharing frequency.
For the average Facebook user, the results of Zarrella’s research mean very little. For marketers and brands, however, these findings could help them fine tune their link-sharing approach for maximum Facebook appeal.