Every day almost 1.3 billion people and every month more than two billion use the largest social network, Facebook. The average user spends around 35 minutes a day, but not all users have the same motivation or the same reasons they spend their time on Facebook.
Broadly, according to a new US study, users could be divided into four categories or “tribes” from a psychological point of view.
Researchers at the University of Brigham Young, Utah, led by Tom Robinson, who published the relevant study in the “International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking”, asked thousands of Facebook users to explain why they use it and what they want to achieve. Based on their responses, the following four major categories of users emerged: “builders” of relationships, “propagandists”, “self-advertisers” and “peepers”.
The “Builders” of relationships are the ones who post and respond to the posts of others, with the main goal of creating new relationships or strengthening existing ones that are already outside cyberspace. They use Facebook as an extension of real life, family and friends.
The “Propagandists” are primarily using Facebook as a “megaphone” to inform everyone about what (they think) is happening around them. They do not care to share photos or personal stories, but to spread useful information, to republish news, to inform about future events and generally to direct public opinion.
The “Self-advertisers” use Facebook to promote not a big idea, but simply their own selves. They continuously upload photos, videos, and texts to draw attention to their person and build the appropriate profile.
Finally, the “Peepers” feel -like “propagandists”– the social obligation to be on Facebook, but their main goal is to “spy on” what other users do and how they live. They rarely publish personal information about themselves, but they sneak through the profiles of others and want to learn everything about them.
Researchers have pointed out that, of course, many Facebook users combine features from more categories (for example, most have a self-advertised tendency…), but they can usually be ranked in one of the four major categories. But they did not reveal what “tribe” most members have.
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