Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

On Facebook, We Get More Love Than We Give

We receive significantly more likes, messages, tags and friend requests from our Facebook friends than we send out ourselves, according to a new Pew Internet report.

In one month, Pew study participants “Liked” other people’s Facebook content an average of 14 times, and had their own Facebook content “Liked” 20 times. They sent nine personal messages, and received 12. Twelve percent of them tagged friends in photos, and 35 percent were themselves tagged in at least one photo. Forty percent made a friend request, and 63 percent received one. Every category showed that same pattern.

This probably isn’t surprising if you’ve heard of the “80:20 rule,” or something similar, where the minority of any group generates the majority of activity. Thus, the majority of the group is on the receiving end.

Pew finds that 20 to 30 percent of people on Facebook are “power users” — meaning they perform these various social networking activities at a higher rate, often on a daily basis.

(Interestingly, these power users tend to specialize in one particular Facebook activity. Some people are power- “Likers” and others are power photo-taggers.)

Pew’s findings are based on getting direct access to 269 Facebook users’ accounts, with their permission.

Admittedly, that’s not an enormous sample, but here are some other findings about the frequency with which Facebook users perform various actions:

  • On average, users make seven new Facebook friends per month; they initiated three requests and accepted four.
  • 80 percent of friend requests that are initiated are accepted.
  • Women average 11 updates to their Facebook status per month, while men average six.
  • On average, Facebook users contribute about four comments/”Likes” for every status update that they make.
  • Less than five percent of users hid content from another user on their Facebook feed.

Pew also didn’t find much evidence of Facebook fatigue among those who chose to be in its study. People who had been on Facebook for longer, and people who had more Facebook friends, tended to “Like,” post, tag and comment more.

But here’s a cautionary note, for those who wish to restrict their personal content within a relatively close network of people. Many Facebook users choose to share content using the “friends of friends” option. The median Facebook user, according to the Pew sample, has 31,170 friends of friends. That’s a ton!

What’s more, the average Facebook user — which includes some people who have enormous networks of people that are not densely connected to each other — reaches 156,569 people with the “friends of friends” setting.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

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