Your blogging personality

6 04 2010

What Does Your Blog Say About You?

As I was spending some time assessing my own blog my previous post, I started to think about the type(s) of personalities that would enjoy blogging, and wondering how much one’s personality is reflected in their blog.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I have found in blogging true enjoyment and an outlet for myself to collect and gather, write, document, organize and share the hours I spend creatively researching a topic or interest (such as this one). However, blogging can’t possibly be enjoyable for everyone. In society where technology is everywhere and universities especially are promoting their education students to learn blogging, I found myself wondering how much it should be pushed, if it is for everyone, and how much we should or can compare or “grade” students on blogging when it may be seen as enjoyable and useful for some, and as simply annoying and frustrating for others. Since this was an area that I know relatively nothing about, beside my own experience(s), I went to the research for some answers.

Although my Google search for “blogging personality” yielded at first many results (most of which I found irrelevant), I eventually stumbled across this awesome article on ScienceBlogs entitled, The Blogging Personality. It’s definitely interesting and worth the read:

You all read blogs, and many of you write them, too. But what sort of person writes a blog? Are there particular personality traits that make certain people more likely to write a blog? If so, what are those personality traits? Do you have them, too?

A team of scientists, led by psychologist Rosanna Guadagno from the University of Alabama, wondered what personality traits made some people more likely than others to write blogs. To answer these questions, Guadagno and her colleagues used the Big Five personality inventory test to measure five key personality traits in college students who write blogs.

The Big Five personality traits are five broad personality factors that had been discovered throughout repeated psychological research during the middle of the twentieth century. As agreed by the professionals in the field, these Big Five factors are Openness to new experiences, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (OCEAN) and each comprises a cluster of more specific personality traits that correlate together. For example, Neuroticism includes such related qualities as a tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily and is sometimes referred to as emotional instability. One of the Big Five qualities, Openness — which comprises an appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experiences — is still widely discussed in the literature, where it is often referred to as “intellect.” Nevertheless, despite some discussion among the experts as to how to define the subtle nuances of these five qualities, research shows that they become stable measurable personality qualities in humans after they’ve reached adulthood. So how do these personality traits correlate to blog writing?

To answer these questions, Guadagno and her team surveyed more than 300 college students from the University of Alabama and Southeastern University about their blog writing and reading habits and had them all complete the Big Five Personality Inventory test.

According to their results, Guadagno’s team found that high scores for two of the Big Five qualities strongly predicted blog writing activity: Openness to new experience and Neuroticism. Considering that blog writing and reading is a new activity that was mostly unheard of even five years ago, Openness to new experiences is a logical prerequisite for adopting in this behavior. High Neuroticism is also not a surprising finding, since even bloggers refer to writing about personal experiences as “navel gazing” — neurotic behavior.

Guadagno’s team also found some gender differences. For example, women with a high Neuroticism score who were also lonely were more likely to write a blog, while this was not the case among men who write blogs.

Like all good studies, this one suggests a large number and variety of questions that are worth investigating: for example, it would be instructive to examine the content of blogs to determine whether they reflect aspects of an individual’s personality; whether a blog writer’s word choice predicts their ability to cope with traumatic events; and especially, to learn more about why people write blogs (coping, reaching out for social support, etc.)? Personally, I am curious to know if certain types of blogs are predicted by particular personality traits, for example, are blogs about science or about one’s career predicted by a different group of personality traits than blogs about dating or one’s personal life?

Additionally, Guadagno cautions that her team’s results may not be more widely applicable beyond her sample group: American college students, an age group whose Big Five personality traits are still undergoing some changes. But she reminds us that understanding blog writing is a worthwhile goal.

“One thing that remains clear is that blogs are a form of online expression that is gaining in popularity and that they represent one of the newer forms of online social interaction,” write the authors in their paper. “As such, 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.

From: The Blogging Personality

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I found on E-articles another interesting and more unique way to classify and describe blog personality types. The article entitled, “External Blogging Personality Types” had these interesting ways of characterizing bloggers:

Instead of providing a dry list of the top ways you can use blogs, I’ve decided to look at blogging in a different way. I have taken the top seven types of business blogs and personified them as different characters, or locations, within a city. Let’s take a tour of this virtual city and visit some people and places your business may want to work with as it discovers, experiments with, and eventually embraces blogging:

The Barber – Barbers can prove to be prominent citizens— they know the right people, have lots of wisdom from years of listening to customers, and have no problem sharing that wisdom. In some ways, a barber serves as a pundit or analyst, or perhaps an adviser. The barber deserves to be heard not only because she sees things differently, but often because she’s right.

The Blacksmith – The blacksmith is like the barber in that he knows the industry, except he is typically inside a company and is thus hammering industry and opinion through the company forge. Software developers at IBM, Sun, and other large technology companies fulfill this role as they bring their experience to bear on a problem.

The Bridge A bridge blogger is a person who makes connections, influences, and helps bring people together. She is obsessed with relationships and connecting people, and as a result she can often function as a peacekeeper. In a corporate setting, the public relations professional may be a natural bridge blogger—or it could just as easily be the company secretary.

The Window – A window blogger is similar to a blacksmith blogger in that he typically works inside a company and uses his experience to frame his opinions. The difference between the two types, though, is that a blacksmith blogger typically talks about things inside the company, while a window blogger typically talks about things inside and outside the company.

The Signpost – A signpost blogger in unusual in that she typically doesn’t share her opinions—at least that isn’t the primary reason for her blog’s existence. A signpost blogger points out cool things of interest in her industry. She may not have much to say in each post (maybe only a few words describing a topic of interest), but she may post dozens of short notes per day as she comes across interesting tidbits, perhaps pointing readers to information at other sites.

The Pub – Pub bloggers create discussions designed to bring in people from all spectrums of a particular issue to talk something through and have a laugh at themselves or others in the process. Peter Davidson’s blog is a solid pub blog example; “Thinking by Peter Davidson” (http://peterthink .blogs.com/thinking, allows a group of likeminded thinkers to explore a variety of issues.

The Newspaper – A newspaper blogger functions in many ways like a journalist—attempting to do more reporting than opining, she does her best to stick to the facts. Many political blogs are newspaper-ish in nature, as are a few technical blogs, such as Engadget (www.engadget.com), which focuses on the latest “gadgety” news.

A single blog may often include characteristics of several of these types; however, because blogs are generally written by one blogger or a small group of bloggers, you can often see an overriding trend as to what type of blogger is at work. Mixed in with these broad areas are other types of blogs that make up the blogospherical town—the post office, where people go for a large variety of information; the town hall, where important decisions are made; and all sorts of other oddities. A healthy town needs all types of citizens and places, and there are certainly more than enough uses for blogs to go around.

From: External Blogging Personality Types

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According to the above descriptions, I am a blend of the newspaper blogger and the signpost blogger. In what is described  as the blogospherical town, I am a little bit journalist and a little bit signpost.

To tie in with my previous blog on self-assessment – While I mostly report my findings and research in paragraph, quote or fact-like form, I also attempt to point out cool things of interest in the worlds of education, the arts and technology. I like to report back and share interesting things that I’ve found, bolding my favorite parts, but also suggesting readers research more on their own. I try not to offer everything in my blog, but I also understand that in this hectic life we sometimes cannot find time to click on even a link, much less watch a twenty-minute TED presentation – so, in a very journalistic fashion, I offer to readers an overview and quick summary of my favorite parts and pieces.

Just as many different types and personalities of people are found in a town, there are also many different types of blogs. A person’s personality in reality will largely influence the type and style of blog they create. Because of this – because it is a more creative and free-form of expression compared to writing an essay or answering a prompt – how can we compare blogs and/or grade them. As a future teacher, these have been some of the questions on my mind, and ones that have not been entirely answered. As I’ve gone through the process of making this blog for a class, and designing how it would be graded as a class, I’ve learned a great deal – and yet, there are still unanswered questions and entirely unclear areas. As a creative and freer form of expression, I think there always will be. And as the ScienceBlogs article points out, there is still much research to be done in this area.

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One response

7 04 2010
Rae

I love this blog! I think it’s such a fascinating way to view blogs, blogging, and bloggers. I never stopped to consider the different types of bloggers or that it’s probably not even the slightest bit enjoyable to others. It’s enjoyable to me because my personality fits practically every OCEAN characteristic, especially Openness and Neuroticism (but the other ones are right up there too!). I’d have to say that I’m probably mostly a Barber blogger with some Signpost and Newspaper days in there. Not that I’d like to make more work for us in LLED 420, but I’d like to see what type of blog/blogger our classmates would classify themselves.

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