A closer look at Facebook and its users

This week, Facebook finally filed for its initial public offering (IPO), as it gets set to launch its first public sale of stock later this year. Part of its submission revealed that the social network now has 845 million active users each month, 483 million of which check the site at least once a day.

A study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has revealed findings about Facebook’s users, and how they engage with the site, through a combination of survey responses and review of real user data, and some of these findings are shared here:

  • Facebook users make seven new friends a month on average.
  • 80% of friend requests are accepted.
  • Women make over three times more status updates than men.
  • 37% of shared content is liked by a friend.
  • 55% of users comment on a friend’s content at least once a month.
  • If you're among the majority of users, your friends will have more friends than you do.
  • The relationships of users’ friends with each other tend to be very sparse – it tends to be the case that the majority of your friends do not know each other. Just over 10% of the average user’s friends are friends with each other too.
  • Through friends, and friends of friends, alone (two degrees of separation), users can reach a mean average of around 150,000 other users.
  • 20-30% of Facebook users are “power users”, with over two fifths of these engaging frequently in one specific activity, such as ‘liking’ things, sharing or tagging photos, sending private messages or sending friend requests (most of us can probably identify at least one friend from memory who obsessively tags friends in photos or is constantly ‘liking’ everything, for example). Only 5% were power users across four or more of these activities.
  • Because power users create an ‘imbalance’ in activity: for the average user, it’s more common to be liked than to like others; more messages will be received than sent; and people will be tagged in photos more often than they tag others.
  • Users really don’t like the ‘poke’ button (which might explain why it was marginalised to a drop-down menu on the Facebook site last year). Just 6% of users poke others. But there are also ‘power pokers’, who send and receive pokes at least once a day.
  • Facebook users – particularly power users – are more trusting than other people.
  • Users with more friends and who are members of more Facebook Groups tend to be more politically engaged.
  • Those with a longer and higher standard of education tend to have a more diverse range of friends (both on Facebook and offline).
  • Facebook doesn’t seem to be losing steam – there’s no evidence at all of ‘Facebook fatigue’, even among its most long-term users.

Of course, these findings are indicative rather than conclusive, based on analysis in a single study, covering American Facebook users in a limited sample research group. It therefore stands to reason that they may not be completely accurate - compared with data sourced directly from Facebook itself, for example - but the findings above certainly make for interesting reading.


Image amended from an original by .net

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

WTF? iTunes Match bug replacing explicit songs with censored versions

Next Story

Windows 8 screenshots of build 8220 leak, new info surfaces

20 Comments

Jose_49 said,
" For the majority of users, their friends have more friends than they do."

Badly worded, but it essentially means that there is a higher percentage of users with a couple hundred friends, and most of them are friends with the few users who have thousands of friends.

JustinN said,

Badly worded, but it essentially means that there is a higher percentage of users with a couple hundred friends, and most of them are friends with the few users who have thousands of friends.

Thanks

Jose_49 said,
" For the majority of users, their friends have more friends than they do."

I read this about 10 times at least and it hurt my head. Thanks JustinN for the clarity

Yes, I did phrase that rather dreadfully - hearty apologies to you all for that. I've now reworded that to read:

"If you're in the majority of users, your friends will have more friends than you do."

I hope that makes things a bit clearer for everyone.

gcaw said,
Yes, I did phrase that rather dreadfully - hearty apologies to you all for that. I've now reworded that to read:

"If you're in the majority of users, your friends will have more friends than you do."

I hope that makes things a bit clearer for everyone.


It really doesn't. The majority of users cannot have a majority of their friends with more friends. So the majority of users must have a minority of their friends with more friends. And at that point, the statistic becomes uninteresting (because such a state is inevitable).

20-30% of Facebook users are “power users”, with over two fifths of these engaging frequently in one specific activity, such as ‘liking' things, sharing or tagging photos, sending private messages or sending friend requests (most of us can probably identify at least one friend from memory who obsessively tags friends in photos or is constantly ‘liking' everything, for example). Only 5% were power users across four or more of these activities.

I know, One in my friend list !

Xahid said,

I know, One in my friend list !

I would sign up to become a power user if you could 'dislike' things on Facebook.

I bet any of you heard of this.

LMS or (Like my Status) for a:
-Confession
-NGL (Not gonna lie)
-TBH (To be honest)
-Rates
etc.

The things these kids do nowadays! D:/

MrXXIV said,
I bet any of you heard of this.

LMS or (Like my Status) for a:
-Confession
-NGL (Not gonna lie)
-TBH (To be honest)
-Rates
etc.

The things these kids do nowadays! D:/


People were using tbh back in the day on IRC in 2000 when I was using it, nothing new.

"Facebook users - particularly power users - are more trusting than other people."

From personal experience, I call bull**** on this one. The power users I have only spam stupid Facebook games links and uninsteresting status like what they had for lunch and stuff. And the ones I really know (from the outside world), aren't that trusting. I am way more conservative in my Facebook posts, and, according to my close friends, more trusting than them.

I would classify power users as the one who have set the most strict privacy settings and least stupid 'Likes' to give away least info to advertisers and who use browser extensions for Facebook privacy. Also doubtful about the education part.

Probably the only things that applied to me from that list was the "majority have more friends" and "comment on a friend's content at least one a month." And with the timeline rolling out mandatory for everyone with no way of opting out, I think I will stop going to FB. I can't stand the timeline.

Facebook users - particularly power users -are more trusting than other people.

How do they come to that conclusion?

Ently said,
Facebook users - particularly power users -are more trusting than other people.

How do they come to that conclusion?

I dont know but I trust the statement

Count me as one who lost "steam" for FB. I have my account still (majority of fields hidden and wall scrubbed btw) to see new pics I'm tagged in, but mostly Twitter has been my social connection. Facebook has promoted so much oversharing and has introduced a new paradigm that's incredibly unhealthy.

Twitter, though having the capacity to overshare, is more about seeking out information, and not having endless preset options to have someone have an unearned privilege to all things at all times.

what does active mean. I only keep my FB for the purpose of commenting on certain sites that have the login with FB or Twitter. Just so I dont have to make a login at that paticular site.

Commenting is disabled on this article.