Wearing Many (Social) Hats: How Different Are Your Different Social Network Personae?
This paper investigates when users create profiles in different social networks, whether they are redundant expressions of the same persona, or they are adapted to each platform. Using the personal webpages of 116,998 users on About.me, we identify and extract matched user profiles on several major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. We find evidence for distinct site-specific norms, such as differences in the language used in the text of the profile self-description, and the kind of picture used as profile image. By learning a model that robustly identifies the platform given a user’s profile image (0.657–0.829 AUC) or self-description (0.608–0.847 AUC), we confirm that users do adapt their behaviour to individual platforms in an identifiable and learnable manner. However, different genders and age groups adapt their behaviour differently from each other, and these differences are, in general, consistent across different platforms. We show that differences in social profile construction correspond to differences in how formal or informal the platform is.