February 3, 2012
Facebook Users Showing No Sign Of Unliking The Site
A new study, released from the Pew Research Center´s Internet and American Life Project yesterday, finds that average users of Facebook receive more than they give, and it is Facebook´s relatively small group of “power users,” who do more than their share of tagging, liking and uploading.
The report, based on data from November 2010 along with a phone survey of US users of the site, sheds light on Facebook´s possible long-term popularity as the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg heads for a multi-billion dollar initial public offering, AP reports.
The social network must prove to stockholders that the concept has staying power if it is to maintain its IPO value. Facebook must prove to advertisers that it can make money from the billions of connections and interactions that people partake in on its website and beyond, reports Ian Simpson for Reuters.
The commercial side of people´s activities on Facebook is not addressed in the Pew survey, however it does shed important light on how people use the site and what they get out of it. Pew´s study included 269 Facebook users who gave their permission and were identified through a random telephone survey about broader internet issues.
Twenty to 30 percent of Facebook users fell into the “power user” category, though they tended to specialize in different types of activities on the network. Some of them sent a lot of friend requests, while others tagged more photos than the average user. Only 5 percent were power users in every activity that Pew logged.
The way this plays out is that the average user is more “liked” than they click “like” on other´s posts. They receive more friend requests than they send. On average, 63 percent of Facebook users studied received friend requests in the survey month while only 40 percent made a friend request.
The results of all this liking and poking? Users enjoy their time on Facebook and the site is geared towards positivity. There is a reason there is no dislike button, and friends are unlikely to post harsh comments on your page. Instead, people you might not have seen in years bombard you with positive affirmations day after day, year after year.
“You keep getting all these wonderful positive rewards,” said Keith Hampton, the study´s main author and a Rutgers University professor. “That´s pretty hard to give up.” Getting more than you are giving, in terms of emotional support, “is kind of what you are looking for,” he added.
So is this why the site could be worth $100 billion and the reason it has 845 million regular users? People are not leaving Facebook like they did on social sites that came and went before. Even if they´ve been on the site for years “Facebook fatigue” is not setting in. Even with some privacy concerns and account settings that are not intuitive to operate, people enjoy Facebook and appear to want to stay.
“For most people, the longer they are on Facebook, the more they do on Facebook,” Hampton concluded.
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