Facebook “Power Users” Survey is Intriguing, but Dated
Some Facebookers are/were very big sharers.
Facebook’s IPO filing has no immediate meaning for most people, but the huge business buzz has everyone talking regardless. And today the highly respected Pew Center for Internet and American Life has joined in by reheating some old survey data in a brand-new report. Pew is very influential, so you may see this information trickling into news stories. It’s quite interesting, and quite possibly still true, but based on a survey from 2010.
Titled “Why most Facebook users get more than they give,” [[http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Facebook-users.aspx]] it shows that the majority of Facebookers receive more attention and feedback — in the form of friend requests, “likes” and personal messages, for example — than they give to others. How does that math work? “Power users” – 20 to 30 percent of all users, depending on the activity — are far more active and far more giving than most people, thus pushing up everyone’s one-month averages so that:
- While 40 percent of Facebook users in the survey made a friend request, 63 percent received at least one request.
- Users in in the survey “liked” their friends’ posts an average of 14 times, but had their content “liked” an average of 20 times.
- Users sent nine personal messages, but received 12.
- 12 percent of users tagged a friend in a photo, but 35 percent were themselves tagged.
The rub: The phone survey was conducted in 2010, from Oct. 20 to Nov. 28. Also, close to twice as many interviews were by landline than by cellphone (1,509 versus 884). However, by Pew’s own report from last July, 83 percent of American adults own a cellphone. And regardless of phone type, only English speakers were interviewed. Latinos are very active in tech and social media, according to Pew’s own research.
Finding people willing to take a survey is challenging, and getting a total of 2,255 replies is impressive. Pew also went an extra step: 269 of the respondents gave permission for Facebook to look through its logs and pull the exact number of friend requests, posts and such to get more accurate information.
In the 15 months since the study, though, Facebook has taken on a lot more users, and some of the long-timers have cut down on their use. Much of what the study says is probably still true, but it’s hard to know for sure.