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IBM software generates personality profile from Twitter

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IBM developers say they can create personality profiles based on people's Twitter accounts.

"If you and I are talking, we have shortcuts as well, and Twitter's no different," said Dr. James Pennebaker, the Chair of Psychology at UT.

He has developed his own personality profiling software in the past.

"IBM is using a system that actually overlaps some with mine," said Pennebaker.

The team analyzed 300 Twitter profiles and had the same users take personality tests.

According to IBM, there was a close correlation between the two more than 80% of the time.

Jasmine Crockett, a UT Junior, said, "I probably tweet at least three to four times a day, but my tweets are pretty PG."

"I do tweet a lot though, about political things, things that are happening on campus, anything that's on my mind," said UT Senior, Melody Price.

The IBM research shows people who are more caring use words like "we," "friends" and "family."

Also, people who are more likely to get along with their colleagues tend to tweet longer words.

Price said, "I feel like, a company, if they're more Democratic and you're more conservative, then, they might see that and be like, oh, well, we might not want to pick her. I don't like it."

"It's hard to say that it's invasion of privacy when you, yourself, choose to upload a video like that or choose to post a tweet or a Facebook status that everybody can view," said Colin Walsh, an employment lawyer.

Walsh says there are two kinds of discrimination....intentional and what's referred to as "disparate impact," which means accidental discrimination by an employer.

"If a software program were to focus on a spelling that happened to only be used by a certain ethnicity or a certain gender, then I think you would run afoul of these disparate impact laws," said Walsh.

Price said, "That's kind of racially loaded because I mean, slang, those are different terms that people would use and different races use other slang than other races do."

"We are moving in that direction...I'll be honest with you, Twitter is not the way you want to go if you want to get an in-depth personality assessment. It's one strategy," said Pennebaker.

With more people applying for fewer jobs, it would be wise to be mindful of what you put out into the Twitterverse.

"I feel like it would be unfair to for me to make it private, so it's going to stay public, but I'm going to clean it up a little bit," said Crockett.

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