Published on February 9th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Facebook Users Get More Than They Give, Study Finds, and Here’s Why
While Facebook is often (and sometimes rightly) viewed as a massive time suck, draining productivity and the will to actually socialize from its massive user base, a new study has found that by and large, Facebook users get more out of the site than they put in, making it kind of like those quarries on CastleVille that just magic up rocks.
Last week the Pew Internet & American Life Project released the results of a phone survey of users of Facebook. And the findings were not just about the output of Facebook users, but also general activity. It found that each month, Facebook users gain an average of four friends- initiating three requests on average and accepting four. Only 20% of requests are rejected, and only about half of users use the private message feature in any given month. Active female users post an average of 11 Facebook status messages, while active male users post about six.
Where the reciprocity thing comes in, each user comments or likes about four times for every status update they post, and less than five people hide content from their feed regularly. But what really moves Facebook are its “power users,” a kind of digital version of the “connectors” referenced in Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point.
The report’s lead author Keith Hampton explained that about 20-30% of the site’s users are power users, and that they really drive Facebook:
“Most Facebook users are moderately active over a one-month time period, so highly active power users skew the average… The striking thing is that there are different power users depending on the activity in question. One group of power users dominates ‘friending’ activity. Another dominates ‘liking’ activity. And yet another dominates photo tagging.”
Through friends of friends, the study found, the average user can connect to about 150,000 people.