A team of communication professors from the Brigham Young University revealed that people using the social media platform Facebook can be classified into four different categories depending on their posts and use of additional Facebook features.
Their findings, described in a paper published in the International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking, basically answer why an average of 1.28 billion people check on their Facebook every day, with majority of users spending about 35 minutes daily on the platform.
"What is it about this social-media platform that has taken over the world?" asked lead author Tom Robinson, in a statement. "Why are people so willing to put their lives on display? Nobody has ever really asked the question, 'Why do you like this?'"
To identify different kinds of Facebook user, the researchers compiled a list of 48 statements that identify potential reasons why people use Facebook. They then recruited study subjects and asked them to reflect their personal connection to the statements, rating each on a scale from "most like me" to "least like me". To get a better understanding of their ratings and rankings, the researchers interviewed each subject.
Based on the responses, the researchers identified four categories of Facebook users: relationship builders, town criers, selfies and window shoppers.
Relationship builders and selfies tend to post pictures, videos and text updates on their Facebook. While relationship builders post and use additional Facebook features primarily to further strengthen the relationships they have beyond the virtual world, selfies are more focused on getting more attention, likes and comments.
On the other hand, town criers and window shoppers both feel a sense of social obligation to be on Facebook and mostly unconcerned in posting stories or other information about themselves. Town criers tend to post out information, sharing news stories and posting events. On the other hand, window shoppers were more likely to be onlookers that prefer watching what other people do.
The researchers noted that Facebook user may see themselves in more than one of the categories. For example, most people have the tendency to be selfies. However, users can identify more with one category than the others.
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