Cat Owner? What Facebook Says About Your Relationship Status
Cat people and dog people have been at odds since the beginning of time — or, at very least, since the beginning of the internet. And, for International Cat Day, Facebook decided to investigate some of those differences, using the same recognition technology used to better the Facebook experience for blind users.
The results are pretty much what you'd expect if you have a working knowledge of the stereotypes surrounding cat people and dog people. You know the basics: Dog people are extroverted, easy-going, and for lack of a better word, cool. Cat people, on the other hand, are introverted, emotional, a little nerdy, and, you guessed it, single.
In the study, Facebook analyzed anonymous data from about 160,000 users who posted pictures with their dogs and cats. The findings were interesting, even if they were predictable. Dog people were more likely to be excited, proud, and #blessed, while cat lovers were more likely to be exhibit some stereotypical traits of their own, like being tired, annoyed, or sad.
It's worth noting, however, that cat and dog people are heartbroken in almost equal measure, with dog people taking the slight lead in that category. Seems like even if the world is full of single cat ladies, they don't feel more unlucky in love than their dog-loving counterparts, at least.
Facebook also studied the non-pet interests of cat and dog people. When it comes to movies, cat people can't get enough of sci-fi and horror and just plain geeky cult classics, while dog lovers are all about rom-coms, Nicholas Sparks adaptations, and comedies. It's important to mention that animated family comedies, like Frozen and Despicable Me, are the great equalizers. But really, didn't we already know that everyone loves Frozen?
Cat and dog people will also have a hard time agreeing on a show to binge. Cat lovers continue to favor sci-fi and "geeky" offerings, like anime, when picking TV shows, whereas dog people get deep into nighttime soaps and reality television. Everyone loves Lost and Seinfeld, which, of course, we already knew.
As interesting as this research is, it's worth taking a second to talk about how it was conducted. Facebook isn't the only social network tapping into its users photos to mine data and information. According to The Washington Post, Snapchat and Pinterest have both used image recognition technology to power advanced search options. While this tech has a lot of great applications (like helping user experience for the blind), it also provides social networking sites with the ability to gather massive amounts of data in the 2 billion (!!!) pictures that users upload to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp every single day.
Still, even if social networks start using this technology to further customize our ad experiences (which they probably will), at least cat and dog people will both have their favorite furry friends to take comfort in.