stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sun Feb 5 17:48:32 EST 2012
<http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/> February 3, 2012
The Pew Research Internet Project released a report about Facebook on
Friday, providing insights into the company ..
Rather than focusing on the company's financials, the report "Why Most
Facebook Users Get More Than They Give" sheds light on how Facebook's
now 845 million users engage with Facebook, and what they get out of it.
The findings show that social interactions on Facebook closely mirror
social interactions in the real world.
For example, over the course of a one-month period, researchers found
that women made an average of 11 updates to their Facebook status, while
men averaged only six. Also, women were more likely to comment on other
people's status updates than men.
"There was a general trend in our data that women use Facebook more than
men," said Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers and lead author of the
report. "This is a phenomenon that is not unique to Facebook. Women are
traditionally in charge of social relationships offline, and that seems
to be true of the online world as well."
The report says men are more likely to send friend requests and women are
more likely to receive them. That's something else we see in the real
world -- especially in bars.
The report also says that most people who use Facebook get more out of it
than they put into it, which may explain why they keep coming back.
Researchers found that 40% of Facebook users in a sample group made a
friend request, while 63% received at least one friend request. They
found that 12% of the sample tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were
themselves tagged in a photo. And each user in the sample clicked
the "like" button next to a friend's content an average of 14 times but
had his or her own content 'liked' an average of 20 times.
Why the imbalance?
"There is this 20% to 30% who are extremely active who are giving more
than they are getting, and they are so active they are making up for
feeding everyone extra stuff," Hampton said. "You might go on Facebook
and post something and have time to click 'like' on one thing you see in
your news feed, but then you get a whole bunch of 'likes' on your news
feed. That's because of this very active group."
He also said extremely active users tend to have a niche: Some are really
into friending, others are really into tagging photos, and still others
click the 'like' button a lot. Rarely is any one user extreme in all
I asked Hampton what he could tell me about these extremely active
people, whom he calls Facebook "power users." Are they unstoppably
social? Unemployed? Lonely?
"It could be people who are always active -- whatever they are doing in
their life, they are very active. Or it could be that just in the one
month we observed them they are active and another month a different
group of people would rise up," he said. "It could be that there is
something going on in their life that causes them to be very active, or
it could be that some people think of it almost as a job to be active on
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