Facebook has been collecting information about us. We know that. They’ve refined the process. They developed computer software which they call “object recognition technology” which recognises photographs of cats and dogs. It added that information to other information which they have been collecting for a long time such as the number of likes and friends that people have in using Facebook. Of course, we have to qualify the idea of “like” and “friend” in respect of the way that Facebook uses these terms. Facebook does not use the word “friend” in the way that we normally use it. People use Facebook to create friends in order to extend their networking rather than having a friend in a conventional sense. Also Facebook (FB) “likes” are, as we know, very casually used. People like a lot of things on Facebook but they don’t necessarily like them if you know what I mean. FB “likes” are used to spread the word.
Having got that out of the way, FB concluded that dog people have more friends. They then qualify that by saying that dog people are more outgoing by their measurement in terms of FB friends. People who keep dogs have 26 more Facebook friends than people who look after cats. What they’re saying is that dog people like to make more connections online but, that said, people who like cats receive more invitations to events than dog people. I’m not sure what we can deduce from that. Facebook says that it means that cat people are putting their friendships to good use.
Unsurprisingly, cat lovers like to make friends with other cat lovers and the same goes for dog lovers. Once again FB states that cat people also like dog people (unsurprisingly). Cat lovers make friends 1.8 times more with dog lovers than in general whereas they make friends with people who like cats 2.2 times more than in general. Therefore cat people like animal lovers.
Facebook recites the usual stereotypes but then they say that their research partly supports stereotypes of both cat and dog people. They confirm that cat lovers are more likely to be single than dog lovers. They base this information on their profile relationship status. I wonder how reliable the profile relationship status is on Facebook.
They say that 30% of cat lovers are single whereas 24% of dog people are single – not much difference really. According to their research one stereotype is incorrect. The classic stereotype is that the typical cat lover is an older, independent-minded female living alone. Their research indicates that young and old cat lovers both male and female are just as likely to be single.
Of course, and Facebook admit this, there are influencing factors on why people are single. It isn’t just about a mentality and a particular desire. There may be circumstances under which a person more or less has to be single. Therefore, we should be cautious about some aspects of this research.
Cat lovers have more indoor activities. They like books, television and movies. Interestingly, people who like cats also like science fiction, fantasy and anime. Conversely, dog lovers like love stories and dog stories. Facebook produced a chart of things that cat people and dog people like in regard to books and I have taken the liberty of reproducing it below.
Below, I have also reproduced the TV shows that both cat lovers and dog lovers prefer to watch according to Facebook.
And thirdly, I reproduce the movies that both cat and dog people prefer to watch.
An interesting aspect of the Facebook research is where cat and dog people live and spend their time. They created a map which indicates that dog people are likely to be concentrated in rural areas and the reason it is supposed is that it allows dogs to exercise more whereas cat lovers are more likely to be found in cities and I suppose these are indoor cats. Looking at the map there appears to be a lot of blue (dog people) in eastern America whereas in the north and south, following a central line going through the middle of America, more or less, there appears to be more cat lovers. The western seaboard seems to have a preponderance of dog lovers which surprises me.
Facebook also measured, through their algorithms and data, the moods and emotions of cat and dog people. The chart below tells us their findings.
Another interesting aspect of this chart is that cat people are more often tired than dog people. Perhaps that is because the cat people that they surveyed are more likely to look after a lot of cats! It would seem that dog people are far more likely to become excited than cat lovers. I hate to say it but this is possibly the kind of excitement that comes out of stupidity and a lack of self-control but there again I am extremely biased. I have to add though that I like dogs as well as cats. I prefer cats but have a great fondness for any animal including dogs. Although, I prefer small dogs which hints at my preference for cats.