Thursday, July 6, 2017

What Kind of Facebook User Are You? (NOT a Poll) #Science #Psychology

These are selfies, relationship builders, town criers, and window shoppers.

Credit: Nate Edwards/BYU Photo

On an average day, 1.28 billion people check it. Monthly? Nearly 2 billion. And according to one recent estimate, the average Facebook user spends 35 minutes a day on the platform -- which makes for a whole lot of daily and monthly minutes.

In a recently published study, a trio of Brigham Young University communications professors explores why.

"What is it about this social-media platform that has taken over the world?" asked lead author Tom Robinson. "Why are people so willing to put their lives on display? Nobody has ever really asked the question, 'Why do you like this?'"

Based on subject responses, the research team identified four categories of Facebook users: relationship builders, town criers, selfies and window shoppers.

Science Daily:  What kind of Facebook user are you?

Those categories don't sound too appetizing so we need to see more to discover how they define each one.

Relationship builders post, respond to others' posts and use additional Facebook features primarily in an attempt to fortify relationships that exist beyond their virtual world. "They use it as an extension of their real life, with their family and real-life friends," Robinson said. People in this group identified strongly with such statements as "Facebook helps me to express love to my family and lets my family express love to me."

Town criers, on the other hand, experience a much larger gap between their real and virtual worlds. Unconcerned with sharing photos, stories or other information about themselves, they instead "want to inform everybody about what's going on," Robinson said. Like town criers from days of yore, "they're pushing out information." They repost news stories, announce events -- but may otherwise neglect their profile pages, preferring to update family and friends through alternative means.

Selfies use Facebook to self promote. Like relationship builders, they post pictures, videos and text updates -- but unlike relationship builders, they're focused on getting attention, likes and comments. Study participants in this category identified highly with the statement "The more 'like' notification alarms I receive, the more I feel approved by my peers." Selfies, said study co-author Kris Boyle, use the platform "to present an image of themselves, whether it's accurate or not."

Window shoppers, like town criers, feel a sense of social obligation to be on Facebook but rarely post personal information. Unlike town criers, these users, said study co-author Clark Callahan, "want to see what other people are doing. It's the social-media equivalent of people watching." Window shoppers identified with such statements as "I can freely look at the Facebook profile of someone I have a crush on and know their interests and relationship status."

- SD

There's more about the research process in source article and there's no mention of a sample size but we're accepting it anywhere due to the level-headed science plus they're not pushing any agenda.

Town crier got me pegged and I'm ok with that.  Overall the descriptions seem accurate to the behaviors one sees there.

Maybe you would like to see more granularity in the categories since Town Criers may be Clark Kents who spread the word about truth and justice;  they may be Alex Jonesers who will spread the word about anything whatsoever so long as it makes a buck; they may be Doomsday Warriors who advise we are so completely screwed if we don't do such and so.

Town Criers often don't do well with Selfies nor do they well understand each other.  I was speaking with a Town Crier earlier today and she was getting hassled by a Selfie because, as with alcoholics, everything is someone else's fault.  Within the Selfie ranks we have the Beauty Queens who are generally harmless but highly insecure; we have the Inveterate Sad Sacks who report everything about their lives so long as it's awful; there are multiple other varieties and you have certainly encountered them since the overall analysis characterizes other social networks as well.

While this science isn't likely to go to Norway, it does give an interesting view of the ways people deal with online.

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