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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pew study + Facebook users get more than they give


Pew study + Facebook users get more than they give


Pew study + Facebook users get more than they give - Facebook givers & takers, Facebook is made up of two kinds of people: people who give a lot, and people who get a lot.
That is one of the findings of a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which identified Facebook users in a national phone survey, asked their permission to examine their activity and then did the analysis. We take a look at what the survey revealed.
 The goody-two-shoes among us say it's better to give than to receive. That's not true for the average Facebook user, though.
A new study out Friday found that the average user of the world's biggest online social network gets more than they give. That means more messages, more "likes" and more comments. Yes, even more "pokes."
Behind all that is Facebook's relatively small group of "power users," who do more than their share of tagging, liking and uploading. The report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project comes two days after Facebook filed for a $5 billion initial public offering of stock that could eventually value the company at $100 billion.
Key to that mammoth valuation will be Facebook's ability to convince advertisers they can make money from the billons of connections and interactions that people partake in on its website and beyond. Though Pew's findings don't address the commercial side of people's activities, they shed important light on how people use the site and what they get out of it.
The study is the product of Pew's analysis of Facebook users' activities in November 2010. It consisted of data that Facebook provided to Pew after 269 users gave their permission. Those users were identified through a random telephone survey about broader Internet issues.
The researchers found that about 20 percent to 30 percent of Facebook users fell into the "power user" category, though they tended to specialize in different types of activities on Facebook. 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 result? It feels good to be on Facebook. It might even feel better than life off Facebook. After all, there's 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.
This might be the lure of Facebook, the reason it could be worth $100 billion and the reason it has 845 million users who are not leaving even if they've been on the site for years. The study found no evidence of "Facebook fatigue," the idea that people get tired of Facebook after they've been on it for a long time.
In fact it was the opposite. The longer someone had been using Facebook, the more frequently they posted status updates, pressed "like" and commented on friends' content.
"For most people, the longer they are on Facebook, the more they do on Facebook," Hampton said.
The researchers also looked at poking, the weird, perhaps least-understood and easily joked-about activity on Facebook. They found that the "poke" button was among the least-practiced activities. Only 6 percent of users poked a friend, while 7 percent were poked during the month.
"While uncommon, some Facebook users are frequent pokers," the report says. "Five participants from our sample poked nearly once a day, being poked themselves a nearly equal number of times."
The original phone survey of 2,255 adults was done in October and November of 2010 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. At the end of that survey, users were asked for consent for Facebook to share data. Twelve percent of the survey participants agreed.

The goody-two-shoes among us say it's better to give than to receive. That's not true for the average Facebook user, though.
A new study out Friday found that the average user of the world's biggest online social network gets more than they give. That means more messages, more "likes" and more comments. Yes, even more "pokes."
Behind all that is Facebook's relatively small group of "power users," who do more than their share of tagging, liking and uploading. The report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project comes two days after Facebook filed for a $5 billion initial public offering of stock that could eventually value the company at $100 billion.

Key to that mammoth valuation will be Facebook's ability to convince advertisers they can make money from the billons of connections and interactions that people partake in on its website and beyond. Though Pew's findings don't address the commercial side of people's activities, they shed important light on how people use the site and what they get out of it.
The study is the product of Pew's analysis of Facebook users' activities in November 2010. It consisted of data that Facebook provided to Pew after 269 users gave their permission. Those users were identified through a random telephone survey about broader Internet issues.
The researchers found that about 20 percent to 30 percent of Facebook users fell into the "power user" category, though they tended to specialize in different types of activities on Facebook. 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 result? It feels good to be on Facebook. It might even feel better than life off Facebook. After all, there's 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.
This might be the lure of Facebook, the reason it could be worth $100 billion and the reason it has 845 million users who are not leaving even if they've been on the site for years. The study found no evidence of "Facebook fatigue," the idea that people get tired of Facebook after they've been on it for a long time.
In fact it was the opposite. The longer someone had been using Facebook, the more frequently they posted status updates, pressed "like" and commented on friends' content.

"For most people, the longer they are on Facebook, the more they do on Facebook," Hampton said.
The researchers also looked at poking, the weird, perhaps least-understood and easily joked-about activity on Facebook. They found that the "poke" button was among the least-practiced activities. Only 6 percent of users poked a friend, while 7 percent were poked during the month.
"While uncommon, some Facebook users are frequent pokers," the report says. "Five participants from our sample poked nearly once a day, being poked themselves a nearly equal number of times."
The original phone survey of 2,255 adults was done in October and November of 2010 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. At the end of that survey, users were asked for consent for Facebook to share data. Twelve percent of the survey participants agreed.

The goody-two-shoes among us say it's better to give than to receive. That's not true for the average Facebook user, though.
A new study out Friday found that the average user of the world's biggest online social network gets more than they give. That means more messages, more "likes" and more comments. Yes, even more "pokes."
Behind all that is Facebook's relatively small group of "power users," who do more than their share of tagging, liking and uploading. The report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project comes two days after Facebook filed for a $5 billion initial public offering of stock that could eventually value the company at $100 billion.
Key to that mammoth valuation will be Facebook's ability to convince advertisers they can make money from the billons of connections and interactions that people partake in on its website and beyond. Though Pew's findings don't address the commercial side of people's activities, they shed important light on how people use the site and what they get out of it.
The study is the product of Pew's analysis of Facebook users' activities in November 2010. It consisted of data that Facebook provided to Pew after 269 users gave their permission. Those users were identified through a random telephone survey about broader Internet issues.
The researchers found that about 20 percent to 30 percent of Facebook users fell into the "power user" category, though they tended to specialize in different types of activities on Facebook. 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 result? It feels good to be on Facebook. It might even feel better than life off Facebook. After all, there's 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.
This might be the lure of Facebook, the reason it could be worth $100 billion and the reason it has 845 million users who are not leaving even if they've been on the site for years. The study found no evidence of "Facebook fatigue," the idea that people get tired of Facebook after they've been on it for a long time.
In fact it was the opposite. The longer someone had been using Facebook, the more frequently they posted status updates, pressed "like" and commented on friends' content.
"For most people, the longer they are on Facebook, the more they do on Facebook," Hampton said.
The original phone survey of 2,255 adults was done in October and November of 2010 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. At the end of that survey, users were asked for consent for Facebook to share data. Twelve percent of the survey participants agreed.

Power users

There is a special group of power players on the social network who dominate various activities.
"Most Facebook users are moderately active over a one-month time period, so highly active power users skew the average," said Keith Hampton, the lead author of the report.
The goody-two-shoes among us say it's better to give than to receive. That's not true for the average Facebook user, though.

A new study out Friday found that the average user of the world's biggest online social network gets more than they give. That means more messages, more "likes" and more comments. Yes, even more "pokes."

Behind all that is Facebook's relatively small group of "power users," who do more than their share of tagging, liking and uploading. The report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project comes two days after Facebook filed for a $5 billion initial public offering of stock that could eventually value the company at $100 billion.

Key to that mammoth valuation will be Facebook's ability to convince advertisers they can make money from the billons of connections and interactions that people partake in on its website and beyond. Though Pew's findings don't address the commercial side of people's activities, they shed important light on how people use the site and what they get out of it.

The study is the product of Pew's analysis of Facebook users' activities in November 2010. It consisted of data that Facebook provided to Pew after 269 users gave their permission. Those users were identified through a random telephone survey about broader Internet issues.

The researchers found that about 20 percent to 30 percent of Facebook users fell into the "power user" category, though they tended to specialize in different types of activities on Facebook. 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 result? It feels good to be on Facebook. It might even feel better than life off Facebook. After all, there's 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.

This might be the lure of Facebook, the reason it could be worth $100 billion and the reason it has 845 million users who are not leaving even if they've been on the site for years. The study found no evidence of "Facebook fatigue," the idea that people get tired of Facebook after they've been on it for a long time.

In fact it was the opposite. The longer someone had been using Facebook, the more frequently they posted status updates, pressed "like" and commented on friends' content.

"For most people, the longer they are on Facebook, the more they do on Facebook," Hampton said.

The researchers also looked at poking, the weird, perhaps least-understood and easily joked-about activity on Facebook. They found that the "poke" button was among the least-practiced activities. Only 6 percent of users poked a friend, while 7 percent were poked during the month.

"While uncommon, some Facebook users are frequent pokers," the report says. "Five participants from our sample poked nearly once a day, being poked themselves a nearly equal number of times."

The original phone survey of 2,255 adults was done in October and November of 2010 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. At the end of that survey, users were asked for consent for Facebook to share data. Twelve percent of the survey participants agreed.
Selective users

"The striking thing is that there are different power users depending on the activity in question," Hampton said. About 43 percent of the Facebook members in Pew's analysis were power users in either sending friend requests, "liking" something, sending private messages or tagging photos. The bottom line, the research said, is that most Facebook members receive more from their Facebook friends than they give, and power users are the reason why.


The study is the product of Pew’s analysis of Facebook users‘ activities in November 2010. It consisted of data that Facebook provided to Pew after 269 users gave their permission. Those users were identified through a random telephone survey about broader Internet issues.

The researchers found that about 20 percent to 30 percent of Facebook users fell into the “power user” category, though they tended to specialize in different types of activities on Facebook. 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 result? It feels good to be on Facebook. It might even feel better than life off Facebook. After all, there’s 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.

This might be the lure of Facebook, the reason it could be worth $100 billion and the reason it has 845 million users who are not leaving even if they’ve been on the site for years. The study found no evidence of “Facebook fatigue,” the idea that people get tired of Facebook after they’ve been on it for a long time.

In fact it was the opposite. The longer someone had been using Facebook, the more frequently they posted status updates, pressed “like” and commented on friends’ content.

“For most people, the longer they are on Facebook, the more they do on Facebook,” Hampton said.

The original phone survey of 2,255 adults was done in October and November of 2010 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. At the end of that survey, users were asked for consent for Facebook to share data. Twelve percent of the survey participants agreed.

Distant friendship

Most Facebook friends are not directly connected to each other. Although a friend of a friend is usually a friend, too, on average only 12 percent of all possible connections between Facebook friends were present.
Show of support

Pew found that Facebook members who received and accepted more Facebook friend requests in the month of the survey reported higher levels of social support. Meanwhile, those who posted more status updates reported higher levels of emotional support.


Couples are accustomed to the rites of engagement, marriage and divorce, Marshall said. Now, she said, putting your relationship on Facebook for hundreds of strangers to witness “messes with those rites.”

Here’s some insight into why a long-distance relationship could become a long-distance breakup:

In 2010, The Associated Press reported that 81 percent of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers had used or faced evidence plucked from Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other social networking sites over the past five years. The evidence had played a part in divorce cases.
A 2008 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 22 percent of American adults had used their Facebook profiles for flirting.
A 2010 survey of users of SNAP Interactive’s iPhone dating app found that nearly 35 percent of respondents had updated their Facebook status to make someone think they had plans, even if they didn’t, according to Inquistr.com.
In a 2009 study of 308 Facebook users ages 17 to 24, researchers discovered that people who are more prone to jealousy will find Facebook just reinforces that jealousy, according to PsychCentral.com. The study was released by Canada’s University of Guelph.

“In the end, it’s more about the personality type than the technology. Certain personalities have a tougher time trusting significant others. The technology is simply an enabler of his or her personality issues. Obsessive types will still check someone’s phone or accuse others of cheating,” Inquistr.com reported.

The study was published in the CyberPsychology & Behavior Journal.

“Facebook has wormed its privacy-obliterating way into many areas of our lives, it would seem, and the messy arena of romantic disentanglements is just another place you can expect to see the social networking giant in the future,” Inquistr.com said.

Extended reach

Facebook users can reach an average of more than 150,000 other Facebook users through friends of friends on the social network. A typical or median user can reach more than 31,000 people.
Key to that mammoth valuation will be Facebook’s ability to convince advertisers they can make money from the billons of connections and interactions that people partake in on its website and beyond. Though Pew’s findings don’t address the commercial side of people’s activities, they shed important light on how people use the site and what they get out of it.


There’s more. Pew also concluded the following:

Women make more status updates than men: in the sample, the average female user made 21 updates to their Facebook status in the month of observation, while the average male made six.
Facebook users average seven new friends a month: some 80 percent of friend requests that were initiated were reciprocated during the study period. This leads to problems like this one.

Few unsubscribe from friends’ feeds: Facebook users have the ability to unsubscribe from seeing the content contributed by some friends on their News Feed, but less than 5 percent of the sample did so.
Facebook fatigue doesn’t exist: last but not least, there was no evidence among the sample that length of time using Facebook is associated with a decline in Facebook activity.
On the contrary, the more time that has passed since a user started using Facebook, the more frequently he or she makes status updates, uses the Like button, comments on friends’ content, and tags friends in photos. Similarly, the more Facebook friends someone has, the more frequently they contribute all forms of Facebook content and the more friend requests they tend to send and accept.

At first, I found the results surprising but as I read them over in depth, it made sense. Obviously those who use Facebook more make it a better place for the average user. It’s the 1 percent rule: the minority of a group generates the majority of the activity, and thus, the majority of the group is on the receiving end.


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