Researchers have found that it is possible to group all the billions of Facebook users into four different user profiles.
In an attempt to understand how social media works and to find a reason behind why Facebook is so popular, researchers at Brigham Young University have taken a deeper look into who logs onto the social media site every day.
Facebook is more popular than any other social media available. On any given day 1.28 billion people check it, it has 1.97 monthly active users worldwide and over 2 billion users with active accounts. And it’s not that users simply go onto Facebook for a couple minutes at a time; the Daily Mail reports that the average user spends 35 minutes every day scrolling along.
It was this amount of time that had the leader of the research team, communications professor Tom Robinson, ask, “Why are people so willing to put their lives on display?” So, his team compiled a list of 48 statements of why people log onto social media and asked participants to rank each statement on if it resonated with them or not.
Based on their findings, the team was able to clearly identify four different types of Facebook users: town criers, selfies, relationship builders, and window shoppers.
Town criers focus on reporting information about their surroundings, and rarely ever post pictures or information about their personal lives. They mostly share news stories, re-post viral articles, and go on Facebook to see what is going on in the world.
Selfies are Facebook users with the primary goal of self-promotion. They are solely focused on getting likes, comments, and shares. According to the study, the Selfies use Facebook “to present an image of themselves, whether it’s accurate or not.”
Relationship builders are looking to do just that, foster relationships with others around the world. This goes for regular users who are looking to build relationships with friends and families, or for small business owners who are trying to boost their visibility online. Considering that only 44% of businesses survive their first five years, social media can be a powerful tool for gaining customers, and relationship builders are quite dedicated to the cause.
Lastly, the window shoppers primarily look to see what others are doing online. Similar to town criers, window shoppers don’t post a lot of personal information but choose to have a Facebook account simply because of social pressure.
With these four personality traits in mind, study author Kris Boyle explains that the goal is to have people really sit down and think about why they choose to interact online. The research team believes that if every person sat down and at least tried to figure out how and why they interact online, it would be easier to identify with others in the online sphere.
Boyle explains, “Social media is so ingrained in everything we do right now. And most people don’t think about why they do it, but if people can recognize their habits, that at least creates awareness.”
So what personality type do you identify with? We’d love to know!