Facebook may be upholding some old stereotypes about “cat people” versus “dog people.” On August 8, a day known as International Cat Day, the social network opted to study the data it had on the two pet owner groups. Using the data of 160,000 of its users, Facebook set out to see if the stereotypes behind the two groups are real, and whether they could decipher why or why not.
On their news post about the study, Facebook says the data was de-identified. The first step was to identify all of the posts with photos of cats or dogs; this was done by object recognition technology. Next, the following data was analyzed:
- Amount of friends
- Event invitations received
- Who cat people and dog people tended to be friends with
- Marital status: Single vs. Married
- Preference of activities: Indoor vs Outdoor
- Specific genres preferred by each group of pet owners
- Movies and television shows preferred by each group of pet owners
- Areas of residence
- Check-in numbers
- Use of Facebook’s “feelings” status update option
What the Data Showed
The data yielded some things that upheld the stereotypes, while discouraging others. The study found that dog people have 26 percent more friends than dogs. This could be because dog people are more outgoing, though, cat people received more event invitations. When it came to choosing their friends, both dog people and cat people tended to befriend those with the same interests. The cat people were 2.2 times more likely to befriend people who were also cat people, and 1.8 times as many dog people. The results showed that cat people and dog people tended to gravitate towards animal-friendly people.
When it came to marital status, the old assumptions seemed to be proven true. Cat people were more likely to be single, as 30% of cat people listed themselves as “single” versus 24% of dog people.
The study looked at how dog versus cat people like their entertainment. Dog people are fond of love stories and other mediums that feature dogs, while cat people are fond of fantasy, science fiction and anime stories. On a number of books, shows, movies, dog people and cat people agreed; these titles included Frozen, Seinfeld, The Hunger Games, The Great Gatbsy and more. Dog people also preferred Duck Dynasty, The Voice, and Grey’s Anatomy more.
Dog people were found to live in more rural areas, where cats where found in more cities, yet both groups were likely to “check in” places at roughly the same frequency. Oddly enough, the study also examined the moods of cat and dog people. Grumpy Cat may be popular online, but cat people tended to express more feelings on Facebook; dog people were more likely to express feelings of excitement or pride.
Now that you know about dog people versus cat people on social media, how do you feel you stack up with the rest of Facebook?