Fight Club’s Facebook Fans Are a Bit Like Tyler Durden: Sophisticated, Thrill-Seeking Non-ConformistsNo Comments Share
Do the movies people list on their Facebook profiles say something about who they are? Common sense says they do, but it’s not clear what they say exactly or how reliable the message is. Over the past several months, MyType users have provided us with a wealth of data to explore this question. Nearly 100,000 people who completed a core psychology quiz also shared the movies portion of their Facebook profiles. In a series of blog posts, we’ll dig into this data to see what it can tell us.
This initial post profiles the fan bases of four popular movies: The Lord of the Rings, Sex and the City, The Notebook and Fight Club. Each movie’s fan profile highlights how its fans differ from everyone else. Sex and the City fans, for instance, are 1.4 times more likely to be moody, and 1.7 times more likely to value power. Yeah, they’re complicated.. just like the four women the movie revolves around. Fight Club fans, as you will see, are also more likely to have traits embodied by the movie’s characters.
Please keep in mind that these fan profiles are statistics, not stereotypes. A more accurate, less fun headline would be “Fight Club’s Facebook Fans Are More Likely To Be Sophisticated, Thrill-Seeking Non-Conformists”. There are plenty of unsophisticated, conventional Fight Club fans out there. We can’t all be like Tyler Durden.
Lord of the Rings
Considering that the The Lord of the Rings movies are some of the most popular of all time, you might expect fans of the trilogy to be pretty normal, or statistically average. While this is mostly true, the fan profile highlights a few key differences — some predictable, others more revealing. Predictably, LOTR fans are more likely than others to be imaginative and to value tradition. An immersive fantasy world requires some imagination to appreciate, and the story’s themes are about as traditional as they come.
Fans are also 25% more likely to value conformity, which is again in line with the films. But I suspect there’s another factor at play. Liking a movie (or anything) on Facebook is often a two-part decision: 1) how much do I actually like the movie, and 2) what will Facebook-liking this movie say about me to others? (For some people, #2 operates semi- or even un-consciously. For others, it’s very consciously the most important factor. If you’re sincerely skeptical about #2’s existence at all, please read Hugo Liu’s Social Network Profiles As Taste Performances, or subscribe to this blog, we’ll write about this topic in depth another time. In the meantime, ask your friends about it, you’ll be surprised.) Given the extreme popularity of the LOTR movies, Facebook-liking them says in a small way that you’re not that different. People who value conformity should be comfortable with this signal, perhaps even welcome it. For non-conformists, on the other hand, it’s a deterrent.
The least predictable part of the LOTR fan profile, at least for me, is the set of relatively high scores on all five moral foundations we measure. But in hindsight this makes sense. LOTR is fundamentally a story of good vs. evil, and there is no subtlety about who is on which side. This kind of black and white morality play should appeal to those with strong moral convictions, especially when good wins over evil.
The Lord of the Rings Fan Profile
Based on 5,674 fans. The figures are likelihood ratios, for instance LOTR fans are 1.2 times (20%) more likely than others to score high on imagination as measured by our psychology survey.
Other Standout Characteristics Religiosity: devoutly religious (1.4x). Professional Values: morality (1.4x). Interests: books and literature (1.2x), computers and electronics (1.25x), religion and spirituality (1.2x), science (1.2x), video games (1.55x).
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