Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Social Networking Trends: Between Lurkers and Blabbers Are Likers

You don’t have to make your own content to participate in social networks anymore.

While it might seem that Facebook users can’t stop blabbing about themselves, instead it’s much more common to “Like” and comment on someone else’s posts than to post your own, according to a phone survey of about 2,000 Americans by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that was released this week (and included much other interesting stuff).

Twenty-six percent of Pew respondents said they “Like” content on an average day, 22 percent comment on other users’ posts and statuses, and 20 percent comment on other users’ photos.

The most popular activity — clicking the “Like” button to give positive feedback — is even more popular among young users. Forty-four percent of Facebook users between 18 and 22 years old said they Like friends’ content on a daily basis. (So much positivity!)

In comparison, 15 percent of Facebook users update their own status on an average day.

From Pew:

The act of contributing a status update is an infrequent activity for most users. A majority of Facebook users (56%) update their status less than once per week. Only 15% of Facebook users update their status at least once per day. Nearly one in six (16%) have never updated their status.

Commenting on other people’s statuses and photos is itself a public performance, as it can be seen by that person’s friends. And it’s often easier to take inspiration from someone else’s content than to make your own from scratch.

Private communication, at least on Facebook, is much less popular than these semi-public comments. Only 10 percent of users send private messages on an average day. (Perhaps they’re using email instead.)

It seems worth noting that comments on user posts and the Like button were not original features of Facebook (the Like button only launched in 2009) but now seem core to its social networking experience. Pew also notes that the percentage of American adults who use social networks doubled from 2008 to 2010.

It’s often been observed that user-generated content is generated by a small minority of users; everyone else tends to be a passive audience member or lurker. But this particular spread of stats seems to show an emerging window of much broader participation.

Image via The Jailbreak.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald