While the first stage of Facebook use may be mostly about managing personal identity and presentation of self, there seems to be a more mature stage during which self matters much less than social. The latest Pew Internet report reveals that Facebookers are slack on updating their own status, but pretty busy Liking and commenting on others’ posts, statuses and photographs.
Answering the question, What do Facebook User Do? Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions Goulet, Lee Rainie, and Kristen Purcell show that current Facebookers are social groomers more that peacocks. Harkening back to Brett Bumgarner’s 2007 study of emerging adults and their uses of Facebook, You’ve Been Poked (First Monday), we’re reminded that social networking sites are used for social engagement and in specific in maintaining ties rather than hooking up or profiling and preening — not that those other activities don’t go on, just those activities are minor compared to social grooming (see box below)
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
Of course many of us use Facebook’s News Feed as our activity stream routing Twitter, Quora, and other social activities into the Facebook News Feed stream rather than update our statuses. Once Twitter entries did become the status, but no longer.
No surprise, under 22’s update their statuses more often than any other age demographic; over 50s the least.