Trying to figure out Facebook
October 17, 2017
I would prefer not to use Facebook, but I would prefer not to drive a car, and I'm not getting anywhere on exercising that preference either. I drive. I use Facebook. I know what I think about cars, traffic, and air pollution. I'm not sure what to think about Facebook.
My customers and their customers are using Facebook, so it's important for me to figure it out. This article points out that different people see and use Facebook in different ways.
Quartz: There are only four types of Facebook users, researchers have found, 2017-Jul-12
The massive social network is more than one thing to its customers, however. Some of us use it to keep tabs on distant friends, for instance, and others to promote their creative works, or “literally” too-cute toenails. Still others see Facebook as a passive medium, a television channel made up of shows starring everyone they know and some they don’t.
Now a new study, published in the International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking, confirms that Facebook has a Rashomon effect: various user groups interpret the experience of using it very differently.
It's intriguing to see that people both experience Facebook differently AND they interpret that experience differently. In other words, not everyone can imagine how others are experiencing Facebook. So we have the blind men and an elephant problem...
In order to help my clients with Facebook, I have to research and imagine the many different ways people see it and use it. We now have one study of 47 people (so few!) that categorizes four different Facebook experiences. So here's a start:
1) Facebook as communication tool used with friends and family (How was your vacation? I'm going to the concert--will I see you there? My daughter graduated, etc.)
2) Checking Facebook without participating. These types often use it to research people or places.
3) Using Facebook to share public, not personal information, especially news. These types see Facebook as a soapbox.
4) Seeking attention on Facebook by posting selfies, accomplishments, and discoveries.
So when we post on Facebook, we can expect that post to be received different ways.
- Did I learn something about people I care about, does it make us closer?
- Did I learn something interesting about the world?
- Is this information I can use to my own advantage?