What Do People Do On Facebook?

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NEW YORK—The emergence of social network sites has transformed personal and professional communications.

Insights into popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace, can be analyzed by age group, where people live (urban, suburban, rural locations) and income level, as well as other ‘social’ or psychographic information.

In an extensive report, The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s study on Social Networking Sites and Our Lives delves into the impact on people of all groups. The survey explores if these technologies isolate people and truncate their relationships? Or, its researchers ask, are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way?

CLICK looks at just the Facebook info from Pew’s June 2011 survey. Some interesting facts emerge:

What do people do on Facebook?
Social network services (SNS) have a number of common features. These include the ability of users to create a list of “friends,” update their “status,” to comment on other users’ statuses and content, to indicate that they like another user’s content, and to send private messages. We asked survey participants to report on the frequency at which they perform these various activities on Facebook. On an average day:

  • 15% of Facebook users update their own status
  • 22% comment on another’s post or status
  • 20% comment on another user’s photos
  • 26% “Like” another user’s content
  • 10% send another user a private message

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

Women and the young drive Facebook usage.
Some 18 percent of women update their Facebook status at least once per day. Only 11 percent of men do the same. At the same time, Facebook users over the age of 35 are the least likely to have ever updated their Facebook profile or to update their status more than 1-2 days per week.

Facebook users are more likely to comment on another user’s status than to update their own status.
Despite the relative infrequency at which most users update their own status, most Facebook users comment on other users’ statuses at least 1-2 days per week (53 percent). More than one in five Facebook users (22 percent) comment on another user’s post at least once per day. Younger Facebook users are most likely to comment at least once per day; 23 percent of Facebook users under the age of 36 comment at least once per day. However, while comment frequency declines with age, one in five (18 percent) Facebook users under the age of 50 still comments at least once per day. Women are much more likely to leave comments on daily basis; 25 percent of female Facebook users comment on a post at least daily, the same is true of only 17 percent of male users.