Every day there are fewer and fewer people, who are not on Facebook. Facebook is without a doubt the most popular social media channel. It allows us to connect with our friends on a whole new level. We can keep in touch with our childhood friends, siblings, who live abroad and with just random acquaintances. We have a lot of information about other people.
The biggest and most important part of the information is data about the users. Facebook has a lot of information about people’s demographics, interests, likes, and dislikes.
A new study was published in the International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking, which says that Facebook has a Rashomon effect. This means that different users experience and use Facebook differently. It was also discovered, that all the users can be categorized into 4 different types. These 4 types of users are relationship builders, window shoppers, town criers and selfies.
The study, which was conducted at the School of Communication at Brigham Young University, asked all the participants to respond to 48 different statements. These statements included, for example, “Facebook is a source of stress, and it depresses me” and “Facebook is an instant way to ask for help or something I need from people”. All the participants had to evaluate if they agreed with the statement or not. Later, the researchers also did interviews with the participants, to gather even more insight and deeper data.
The study researched only 47 participants, but the authors say that it was enough to see the pattern. They say that using Q methodology in the study, allowed them to investigate divergent perspectives on subjective topics. The researchers used sorting, statistic and factor analysis. The authors say, that even if you read through the description of each type and recognize yourself in many of them, there is definitely one that is most likely you.
But we also have to take notice, that the study only included American youngsters from age 18 to 32, which means it might not be completely accurate in other cultures and environments.
Anyway, here are the 4 different types of Facebook users:
For the relationship builders, Facebook has replaced e-mails and telephone. They share and get all the necessary information from this one social media platform. They use Facebook to keep in touch with important people in their life, who they are not able to see that often. For them, the Facebook experience is very personal and meaningful.
The relationship builders also tend to post a lot on their wall, because they like to share stuff with their friends (and connect through that even more with others). They also pay close attention to other user’s posts and comment them often.
To them, Facebook is an important platform, where to have human connections and show love to others.
They are on Facebook because everyone else is there. They are experiencing a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) and they want to know what others are posting, talking about and doing daily.
The window shoppers are not eager to share information about themselves. They rarely post statuses or photos. They also do not engage to other’s content much, but they keep an eye on the posts.
To them, Facebook is not as important part of everyday life as for the relationship builders. They focus on their life more on the offline world. Maybe they would not even notice if one day Facebook was not there anymore.
The town criers have a strong opinion that they want to share with others. They often post information about subjects that they care about. This can be the environment, the politics or other current affairs. These people do not even care, if their post gets likes or comments, they just feel the need to share their opinion.
These activists often form groups and events. They want to feel that their words and actions matter in some way. Usually, they use Facebook only to share and receive this kind of information.
Town criers do not post about their personal life nor do they stay connected with their close ones through Facebook. They would rather call or meet the ones they need to talk to.
The last type of users, selfies, use Facebook in a similar way as the relationship builders do. They like to post about their personal life, share photos and videos about themselves. What makes them different from the relationship builders, is the fact that the selfies hunt likes and comments.
They need the appreciation of others. This makes them feel beautiful, valuable and confident. They also feel the need to be in the picture all the time. It is not rare, that they do not show their real life. This means that they make everything look prettier, better, happier than it is in real life.
The selfies do not care about other user’s post. They comment and like other users to get the same kind of treatment from them. They want to be seen, heard and envied. This kind of people live for social media and they design their image very carefully.
So, what type of user is the most similar to you? Think about why you use Facebook and what value it gives to you. There are a lot of positive aspects of social media, but we should not forget about the negative side as well. Our social media usage should not take over our real life.
Featured Image Courtesy: Understanding Relationships (www.understandingrelationships.com)
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