A study by the International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking found that most Facebook users can be described as one, or a combination, of the following: relationship builders, town criers, selfies, and window shoppers.
The scientific report found the virtually seductive qualities of identity sharing, content gratification, and ample social atmosphere have made Facebook the most popular social network.
And looked to further other online social network studies that largely overlooked the individual, limiting the understanding of what exactly drives people to use, abuse, even become dependent on sites like Facebook.
Based on the theory of uses and gratifications, the methodology subjectively observed what draws users to Facebook, focusing specifically on Facebook user characteristics.
The authors claimed Relationship Builders use Facebook primarily as an attempt to maintain real-life friendships and connections—not just ones that occur on-screen.
“Relationship builders love to gather and share information by posting photos and videos, receiving likes, and chatting via the messenger function. They are able to develop and nurture relationships with the important people in their lives.”
Town Criers, on the other hand, won’t share photos or stories about themselves. Rather, they are “a cyber version of what was once an official who made public announcements in a community.” They will often let their personal page lapse out of date and consider Facebook an inappropriate venue for discussing personal or emotional information.
For the town crier, Facebook exists simply for them to reach as many people as possible and disseminate a message. They don’t use it to make friends, flirt, or form emotional bonds. One town crier in the study even said she doesn’t talk to her family on Facebook, because “they are more important than that.”
We all know a Selfie or two. They use Facebook just to self-promote. They post photos, videos, and text updates, but unlike relationship builders, they’re mainly focused on getting attention. They see likes and comments as a way to “get validated.” They get more pleasure in reviewing their own posts and updates, versus other people’s. This was the biggest group in the study.
The smallest group was the Window Shoppers, who feel obligated to be on social media because their friends and family are. They rarely post personal information and spend their Facebook time looking at other people’s profiles.
Window shoppers see themselves as too private to express themselves on such a public platform. They “literally peek into the Facebook world from the outside and collect information about other people, while neglecting to provide any of their own. They prefer the real tangible world to the virtual world.
If you like using Facebook, here are some tricks to help you get the most out of it.