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A New-Age Addiction Called Facebook!!!

For an idea that took shape within the four walls of the Harvard dormitory room, Facebook has indeed come a long way. From the accusations of theft of intellectual property to millions of dollars in legal settlement, Mark Zuckerberg has seen it all at the ripe young age of 26. One moment he is the youngest billionaire in the world so far and the next, a Brutus, back-stabbing his own people. Love him, hate him but you just can’t ignore him. He has taken the bouquets as well as the brickbats for his million dollar baby –Facebook. Let’s look at this incredible phenomenon a little more closely.

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Facebook Statistics – The numbers say it all!

  • More than 400 million active users
  • 50% of the active users are on Facebook on any given day
  • More than 35 million users update status daily
  • More than 3 billion pictures uploaded each month
  • More than 5 billion web content is shared every week
  • More than 20 million people become fans of the pages every day
  • More than 70 translations are available on Facebook
  • Around 70% of the FB users live outside the United States of America

An average FB user:

  • has 130 friends on Facebook
  • spends more than 55 minutes on the site every day
  • sends at least 8 friend request every month

What makes Facebook so popular?
Facebook plays on two basic human traits: a desire to talk about self and the curiousity to know about others. The other potential reasons can be:

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  • Everyone’s on it.
  • No annoying advertisements.
  • Huge database (400 million users and still counting…)
  • Unlimited photo uploads.
  • Interesting games and applications.
  • Plays on people’s vanity.
  • Information about your friends, acquaintances and others.
  • Many options of communication- status message, chat, message or write on the wall.
  • Share links and videos easily.
  • Opportunity to become fans or like somebody’s status

Researches to Study The Phemonenon Called Facebook

#1. Facebook usage not related with the poor academic performance

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Performed by: Eszter Hargittai, Associate Professor (communication studies) at Northwestern University and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

The Study
Collected data from more than 1,000 undergraduates from the University of Illinois, Chicago. A cross sectional samples of nation-wide representatives in the age group 14 and 22 years old were also studied.

The Conclusion
The research was not able to establish any negative link between the lower grades and the usage of Facebook. According to Eszter Hargittai, if the students do spend excessive time on Facebook and neglect their studies then their academic performance is bound to suffer. However, this is true for any other extra curricular activity and not exclusive to the social networking.

#2. Facebook fan page becomes excellent marketing tool

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Performed by: Utpal Dholakia, Associate Professor (Management) Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University. Emily Durham, Alumna of Jones Graduate School.

The Study
Dholakia and Durham surveyed the customers of a Houston-based café, Dessert Gallery (DG). Before the study the chain did not have Facebook account. It was created during the research work. The researchers also surveyed around 1,700 fans in a three month period.

The Conclusion
Compared to the typical customers at the DG, the fans:

  • Visited 36% times more to the store in a month
  • Spent 45% more at the DG
  • Have 14% more emotional attachment to DG
  • Have 41% more psychological loyalty towards DG
  • Facebook fan page is an effective and low-cost means of marketing

#3. Facebook profile can detect narcissism

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Performed by: Laura Buffari, a doctoral student in Psychology, along with W Keith Campell, Associate Professor at Georgia University.

The Study
Personality questionnaires were given to almost 130 Facebook users.The researchers analyzed the contents of the pages. Untrained strangers were also asked to rate the narcissism of the owner.

The Conclusion

  • According to the researchers the number of friends on Facebook and the wallposts correlate with narcissism.
  • In real-world too narcissists have numerous, shallow relationships, just like Facebook.
  • A narcissist is more likely to choose a self-promoting and glamorous picture as the profile picture.
  • The untrained strangers were also almost accurate in their judgment. They used three criteria to assess the personality of the narcissistic individuals- how much they interact socially, how much they promote themselves on Facebook and their attractiveness.

#4. Facebook usage might lead to jealousy in a relationship

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Performed by: Amy Muise, Emily Christofides and Serge Desmarais, from the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada).

The Study
The researchers surveyed young men and women who were involved in romantic relationships. Their Facebook activities were also studied.

The Conclusion

  • People are exposed to the information about their partner which might make them jealous.
  • This might lead to more Online surveillance on their partner.
  • They might find information which might further lead to envy.
  • This establishes a link between Facebook usage and bouts of jealousy which has a negative effect on relationships.

#5. Facebook used for social searching more than social browsing

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Performed by: Kevin Wise, researcher and an Assistant Professor, School of Journalism, Missouri University

The Study
Kevin Wise studied the behavior of the Facebook users when they navigate the site. The users’ personal habits were observed by the researcher. The participants were not asked questions rather their actions were observed. According to Wise, they wanted to categorize the usage of Facebook based on what people do on the site and not what people say about it. The participants were asked to navigate Facebook for a considerable period of time. They were free to do anything on the site. The researchers noticed all the actions of the users with the help of screen-capturing software. Sensors were attached to the participants to measure their emotional response while browsing.

The Conclusion

  • As per Kevin Wise, the users’ actions can be categorized as: social browsing and social searching.
  • Social browsing refers to browsing the site without a specific target in mind. Social searching, on the other hand, is to navigate with a specific aim of finding specific information about group, event or people.
  • The participants enjoyed spending time on social searching rather than social browsing.

Facebook- To Friend or Unfriend it???
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Well, to use Facebook or not is entirely a personal decision. It is a great way of keeping in touch with your friends and connecting with some new ones too. Besides, now the research proves that it doesn’t interfere with your academics. But take care not to get addicted to it. We know that’s asking for too much.

2 responses to A New-Age Addiction Called Facebook!!!

  1. Well written. Impressed by the statistical information and case studies mentioned. Sure will agree to the fact Facebook is an addiction or at least has the right ingredients to be very addictive to most users, I was addicted to it for a while until I bailed out.

    I guess on-line social networking is here to stay and it always has been there. Facebook to me is a progression from the Yahoo chatrooms which I was addicted to some 12 or 13 years back (those times it was probably the only tool for on-line social networking). Another 12 or 13 years into the future Facebook may be as dead as Yahoo chatrooms are today :) … and then it will be time for some other new-age addiction to write about and debate about.

  2. Liked it , very good write-up . keep doing good work

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