By Shannon Frost Greenstein
It’s safe to say that Facebook is pretty universal by this point. It’s ubiquitously known, and there are two billion of us who have an account with the social media platform.
But why do those two billion people use Facebook? What is the appeal? What do they get out of it? What keeps them coming back?
Strangely, those questions are not asked very often. But a new study out of Brigham Young University is addressing that very mystery, and the results are pretty clear-cut.
According to the study, all Facebook users can be divided into four distinct groups, based on their responses to a series of statements regarding Facebook use. Each group has a set of common characteristics which explain a user’s primary motivation for logging onto Facebook, and continuing to use the platform. Check them out below to find out the category under which you fall!
- The Relationship Builder: Relationship Builders utilize Facebook to augment their real-life relationships. It is a way to stay in touch with friends and family, to communicate with their social circle and share significant experiences with the people who matter most. For Relationship Builders, Facebook strengthens the connection between friends and family and allows them to connect more intimately in reality.
- The Selfie: The Selfie is someone who is all about the public reaction to their own personal brand. The appeal of Facebook for these individuals is the likes, comments, and shares they receive when promoting their individual persona, be it through actual selfies, text updates, or personal information. The Selfie individual is all about self-promotion, putting their life on display to collect reactions from the Facebook community.
- The Town Crier: The Town Crier cares less about their own profile or digital appearance and more about sharing content with others. These individuals share news stories, breaking headlines, and informative graphics with their friends and followers, with the purpose of informing their audience rather than building their own brand. They come back to Facebook because of the content that is worth sharing, and their desire to raise awareness, spread the news, or enlighten others.
- The Window Shopper: Finally, the Window Shopper is someone who may not be very active on Facebook. They utilize the social media platform to keep tabs on their friends and followers. They do not post as often, either with personal information or to share informative content, but instead use Facebook to peek into others’ lives. The Window Shopper is more interested in what’s happening with others in their social circle, rather than promoting their own experiences or interests.
Of course, people can identify with more than one of these archetypal Facebook groups. However, the study showed that the majority of participants can classify their Facebook usage with one category more definitively than the others. Now that we’ve started to answer why and how people utilize Facebook, the bigger question remains: What kind of user are YOU???