In this article, Questia Group focuses on the ‘Facebook experience’, namely on attitudes and types of users. Our research was conducted through an online survey on our platform www.questia.ro covering 592 respondents. The survey was active between 1st and 3rd of August 2017. Our key findings are presented below.

Overview

To date, Facebook is the biggest social networking service, based on its global reach and the number of active users. As of the second quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2 billion monthly active users. Active users are those which have logged in to Facebook during the last 30 days. According to Statista, at the second quarter of 2017, there were 2,006 million Facebook users. In Romania there are approximatively 9,600,000 users (data from Oct. 2016), with the highest penetration rate in Bucharest (19% rate), followed by Cluj-Napoca (3.24%), Iasi (3.13%) and Timisoara (3.13%).

Facebook’s qualities such as identity sharing, content gratification or its ample social atmosphere have made it the most popular social network both for users and for researchers. Recent work shows how information gathered from social network profiles like Facebook can be used to predict personal attributes such as gender and age, religious and political views, intelligence, happiness and personality traits, through machine learning.

At a different scientific approach, other studies point out to the fact that various user groups may differently interpret their experience of using Facebook. For instance, researchers found they could categorize users into four broad types: “relationship builders,” “window shoppers,” “town criers,” and “selfies.” Based on the theory of uses and gratifications, Q methodology subjectively observes what draws users to Facebook, focusing specifically on Facebook user characteristics. In this sense, some say that individual differences in personality affect users’ online activities as much as they do in the offline world. This means that website choices and Facebook profile features may offer important and potentially unbiased insights into users’ personalities.

Findings

Most respondents spend between 1 to 5 hours weekly on Facebook (37.3%), while almost a half (42.0%) spend between 6 and 20 hours weekly, roughly 1.5 hours per day. However, 18.1% say they always have their Facebook app open, on their mobile phones or laptops, suggesting the high level of ubiquity of this social network.

Facebook usage

Most respondents say they have between 51 and 500 friends on Facebook (57.8%), while only a few (8.3%) have between 1 and 50 friends. A similar share has over 501 to 1,000 (16.7%) or over 1,001 and 5,000 friends (16.2%).

Facebook friends

The most popular friends on Facebook are close friends, followed by family members and acquaintances. Also, respondents are friends with their high school or college friend, as well as their co-workers. Quite interestingly, only a small number (31.8%) are friends with their supervisor/boss.

Facebook type of friends

Regarding Facebook attitudes, the results show that respondents are interested in learning things about people they don’t know, pointing out that most are the ‘window shopper’ type of users. In this way, more than a half agreed to that Facebook is 'just a way to check on others'. Through social media, they can collect important information about people they don’t know personally and at the same time maintain their relationship with other close friends and family members (the ‘relationship builders’ type of users). This shows that most respondents are a blend between the relationship builders and window shoppers. The third type, the ‘selfies’ are less into other people than they are into themselves. In this way, social media allows them to be what they want to be, to express themselves and share their stories.

Facebook attitudes

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