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Facebook users get more than they give

Friday, February 03, 2012

Lauren Sessions Goulet

Most Facebook users receive more from their Facebook friends than they give, according to a new study that for the first time combines server logs of Facebook activity with survey data to explore the structure of Facebook friendship networks and measures of social well-being.
Annenberg doctoral candidate Lauren Sessions Goulet was one of the researchers and authors of the report (along with Keith N. Hampton, Cameron Marlow, and Lee Raine), released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. 

The report, “Why most Facebook users get more than they give,” is the result of a telephone survey of 2,255 adults age 18 and older conducted from October to November of 2010. And the new findings show that over a one-month period:
  • 40 percent of Facebook users in the sample made a friend request, but 63 percent received at least one request
  • Users in our sample pressed the like button next to friends’ content 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 in a photo
The report comes two days after Facebook filed for a $5 billion initial public offering of stock that could eventually value the company at $100 billion. Today’s Associated Press wire reports that “key to that mammoth valuation will be Facebook's ability to convince advertisers they can make money from the billons of connections and interactions that people partake in on its website and beyond. Though Pew's findings don't address the commercial side of people's activities, they shed important light on how people use the site and what they get out of it.”

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