Well, I’ve had a quick look at the Guadagno paper and I’ve done the Big Five personality test. Disappointingly, I came out as being incredibly neurotic and not very conscientious. More pleasingly, I did confirm my prejudice that I am very dutiful – I’d have made a good Quaker!
The paper has some interesting results, albeit few that are statistically significant. There was an initial study with 89 participants, of whom 22 were bloggers. This means that the initial results on blog authors were based on a sample of 22. There was a statistically significant relationship between openness and blogging (p=0.04) and the relationship between neuroticism was not statistically significant (p=0.11). The authors planned a second study with a larger sample: “The purpose of Study 2 was to replicate and expand upon Study 1 by examining whether we find the same results with a larger sample. We were particularly interested in examining whether neuroticism would significantly predict blogging if the sample size were increased.”
Of the 278 participants in the second study, 44 (16%) reported writing blogs. Unfortunately, due to a technical malfunction, the authors had to report that “data for some of our bloggers were lost so the percentages reported here represent the data for 24 of the 44 bloggers. Despite the loss in data, the results generally replicate our findings from Study 1.” So that larger sample was actually 24 rather than 44 – only two bloggers more than last time. I hope the technical malfunction wasn’t computer-related as that would be a cruel irony given that the study was published in Computers in Human Behavior. Whatever the malfunction, the authors have my sympathy – there’s not much in my everyday life that is more frustrating than a computer malfunction. Lost blog comments when the internet decides to go down, lost work when my PC crashes… my printer’s inability to print page two of the Guadagno study. Little wonder that some people are tempted to ascribe agency to computers when they ‘behave’ like such bastards at times.
Nonetheless, the authors were able to show that “the results of Study 2 replicated the results of Study 1 and demonstrated that, as expected, in a larger sample, neuroticism does predict blogging.” The results of the logistic regression indicated that the significant predictors of blogging were openness to experience and neuroticism (p=<.001 for openness and p=<.01for neuroticism). Hurrah for those open-minded and neurotic types who blog. Of course, it seems obvious that bloggers would tend to be open to new experiences – blogs are relatively new, after all. Neuoticism being associated with blogging was a finding that I perhaps would not have expected.
I imagine the findings may have been different if the authors had looked at different types of blogger (i.e., those blogging on specific subjects). It would be interesting to see the results of a study using the Big Five test and looking at homeopathy blogs, pseudoscicence blogs etc. Perhaps we would even be able to find out if woos genuinely are as angry as I perceive. Or, more trivially, whether purple or lilac blogs correlated with the personality types of the authors.