Social Networking – Usage Pattern Survey (How people use forums like Facebook …)

Facebook has over 1 Billion users! That is, 1 in every 7 people (keep in mind that a huge percentage of the World Population of 7B is below 15 years of age). Other sites like LinkedIn, Twitter etc. are also very popular. How exactly do folks use such Social Networking tools? I was curious about these aspects and when a friend suggested that I put out a survey, I decided to go for it. Following are the findings from the survey.

After much prodding and probing, I got about 45 responses. As most of you must have figured out (based on your own circle of “friends”), Social Networking sites, though filled with lots of account holders, does not have a high percentage of active users. Anyway, we have to proceed with what we have. So here goes …

(A) How much time do you spend on Facebook per day (on an average)?


My answer: Less than or equal to 15 minutes.

My thoughts: A lot of folks have opened accounts just for the sake of opening it, as can be noticed from their own home pages. They hardly ever log in, let alone participate. But among the active users, seems like the majority use it quite often.

(B) What is the biggest advantage that Facebook offers you?

My answer: Allows me to stay linked to all my contacts.

My thoughts: Obviously, the majority think about Facebook like me. It is a very easy way to stay connected with your friends and share experiences and thoughts.

(C) From a security aspect, how comfortable are you with online forums like Facebook?

My answer: Not that comfortable (But the advantages outweigh the security concerns).

My thoughts: With all kinds of scamsters around, there is undoubtedly an element of risk. To make it more confusing, Facebook keeps changing the security options. But then, in my opinion, as long as you are careful about what you share, it should be fine.

(D) When you are logged into Facebook, which category best describes how you spend your time?

My answer: Same as above, but less thorough.

My thoughts: In my opinion, whichever way you look at it, Facebook is still a “virtual” medium. If you are cutting short in-person interactions (example, spending less time with family) because of Facebook, then there are other issues you have to worry about … 🙂 My take is that Facebook is a virtual medium, how much ever easy it is to use etc., and only that level of importance should be attached to it.

(E) When you get a “Friend” request, how do you approach it?

My answer: I only accept the request if I know the person directly.

My thoughts: Because there are folks who spam everyone with “Friend Requests” and some folks carelessly accept them, we end up in a situation where just because the “Friend Request” is from someone “connected” to one of your existing “Friends”, it doesnt offer any protection. I have two solutions for it: (a) Scrutinize incoming requests (b) Review the Friends List once a quarter or so.

(F) What is your strategy in sending out “Friend Request”?

My answer: I send out requests to people I know directly.

My thoughts: Since I share lot of data (notes, pictures, links etc.), I dont want any Tom-Dick-Harry to see my data. I dont walk into a Food Court and suddenly shout at the top of my voice, “Attention people! This is a picture of me in Hawaii. Please take a look!” 🙂 Same strategy on Facebook as well.

(G) What aspect of Facebook is of most interest to you?

My answer: All of the above.

My thoughts: Facebook is great! Easy to use. Lots of space. Time pass (example, when standing in line at the Bank). Staying connected. Getting information (Part of the reason Voyeurs are rampant, I guess). Repository.

(H) How has your Facebook usage pattern been over the past few years?

My answer: Has remained roughly the same.

My thoughts: Maybe it has slightly reduced over the years. But I still find Facebook great. I notice that it is the case with most of the survey responders as well.

(I) How different is your online (Facebook, Email Groups etc.) persona from your real in-person persona?

My answer: About the same. I am an extrovert online as well as in person.

My thoughts: I guess it all depends on the nature of the person and I wouldnt be surprised if the very characteristics of online medium plays a part in this.

(J) Are you a fan of online forums like Facebook?

My answer: Yes.

My thoughts: The most interesting response in the Survey, in my opinion. 42% are not fans of online forums. Yet, 100% of the Survery responders use Facebook! … Interesting. Some food for thought …