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Why do people use Facebook?


For many, using Facebook has become a part of their monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly routine.
Why is that? A new study believes Facebook fulfils two of our basic social needs.

Like a letter, a phone call, an instant message, a text message, an e-mail, Facebook is (rather quickly)
becoming an accepted means of communication. A new study titled "Why do people use Facebook?"
from researchers Ashwini Nadkarni and Stefan G. Hofmann of Boston Universityattempts to answer why
the social network has become so entrenched in our social lives.

Here's the abstract:

The social networking site, Facebook, has gained an enormous amount of popularity. In this article, we
review the literature on the factors contributing to Facebook use. We propose a model suggesting that
Facebook use is motivated by two primary needs: (1) the need to belong and (2) the need for self-
presentation. Demographic and cultural factors contribute to the need to belong, whereas neuroticism,
narcissism, shyness, self-esteem and self-worth contribute to the need for self-presentation. Areas for
future research are discussed.

In short, Facebook's 800 million monthly active users (soon to be 1 billion) use the service to fulfill two
basic social needs: the need to belong and the need for self-presentation. Of course, Facebook use is
also influenced by outside factors, such as cultural background, sociodemographic variables and
personality traits; for example, females and ethnic minorities tend to use Facebook more than males and
Caucasians. Still, these two needs are the main driving forces, according to the study.

Whenever I hop onto Facebook to do something specificfind a link I saved for later or see
whats happening on Buffers Facebook page, perhapssomething strange happens.

Despite my best intentions to stay on track and accomplish my goal, I get sucked in. Suddenly
Im checking my own notifications, looking at whats been recently posted and generally
forgetting why I came to Facebook in the first place.
This isnt entirely by accident. There is science and psychology that explains why so many of
us are glued to Facebook.

Researchers have discovered trends in the way that we perform every major action on
Facebookliking, posting, sharing, commenting and even lurking.

And theres a ton of psychology involved in what makes Facebook so attractive in the first place.
Heres a look at the psychology of Facebook: what makes us like, post, share and keep coming
back for more.
Lots of studies have worked toward figuring out what exactly goes on in our brains when were
participating in social mediaspecifically, Facebook.
A recent one discovered a strong connection between Facebook and the brains reward center,
called the nucleus accumbens. This area processes rewarding feelings about things like food, sex,
money and social acceptance.

When we get positive feedback on Facebook, the feeling lights up this part of our brain. The
greater the intensity of our Facebook use, the greater the reward.
Another fascinating study recorded physiological reactions like pupil dilation in volunteers as
they looked at their Facebook accounts to find that browsing Facebook can evoke what they
callflow state, the feeling you get when youre totally and happily engrossed in a project or new

Its a way of publicly grooming your friends.

Those conversations that happen on peoples
walls could just as easily have happened in
private. Facebook allows us to meet this very
basic social need, and to do that on a broad

In other words, its not just the connection

itself that matters. Its easy enough to support
someone in private but far harder to voice that
same support publiclyand the public
support is a much stronger sign of actual
support. (Remember the next-door neighbor
who would play with you only after school and
ignore you in the hallways?) If Facebook had
stayed in its original incarnation, it might
indeed have gone the way of other, forgotten
sites like Friendster. But it went beyond that.
The wall and its comments, all those likes
and shares, and, yes, even the once-
maligned News Feed are so powerful because
they make our grooming of one another more

At its core, Facebook hasnt changed what it

does. It has just learned to do it more, and
better. But, aside from the changes to
Facebooks features, theres been another
development: the number of Facebook users
has multiplied. Not only are we affirming our
connections in a way that sends a strong
public signal, we are doing it with a lot of
people at once. Were being allowed to
essentially scale up and maintain our social
networks and connections, Gosling said.
Thats one of the reasons people become so
obsessed with itand freaked out by it.

Increasingly, many Facebook users are using the site the way I used to use it in college,
deploying privacy controls to make their own Facebook more self-contained. A Pew poll last
May showed that teen-agersoften expected to over-shareare now opting for private
profiles more than sixty per cent of the time, and are often limiting what they share and
whom they share it with. Fifty-nine per cent have deleted or edited a post, fifty-three per
cent have deleted comments, forty-five per cent have removed tags from photos, and fifty-
eight per cent have blocked a friend. All this socializing can start to wear on your nerves.
In more recent research, we have focused on collaboration via social network sites (SNSs) how individuals use these sites to get
questions answered, share information and advice, and accomplish coordination tasks (like finding someone to walk the dog while
on vacation). Individuals have long used communication technologies like email and the telephone to do these things, but as more
and more of our friends, colleagues, and family members join SNSs and the tools continue to develop, we believe these sites will
increasingly be used to support these kinds of ad-hoc collaborative activities. This is due to a number of factors, primarily the
reduced costs of interacting over SNSs (when compared to other communication technologies) and the larger, more diverse
networks they support (which make it more likely that your message will be seen by someone who is in a position to help).

As part of this emphasis on collaboration through SNSs, our research team is now exploring a less-studied aspect of Facebook
implications of use within educational settings, especially in relation to students use of the site to engage in collaborative activities.
In a recent survey, we explored the extent to which undergraduate students at MSU use Facebook to engage in classroom-related
organizing. We found that of the 227 students that participated in our survey, over half said they were likely or very likely to use
Facebook to arrange a face-to-face study group or to help manage a group project, and 49% said they were likely or very likely to
"collaborate in a way your instructor would like." Our participants said they were most likely to use Groups or private messages to
coordinate group meetings and were most likely to use chat and private messaging to complete an assignment. It seems clear that
many students are repurposing Facebooks features, especially those that support social coordination, to facilitate their academic
goals. Students know that they are likely to find many of their peers on the site, and unlike email or course management services
like Blackboard, students can find out more about one another through the profile in addition to sending messages and coordinating
events. (Our earlier research suggests that the identity information found in profiles, such as high school, musical preferences, and
the Friends list, can help individuals develop common ground with their peers by highlighting commonalities such as shared hobbies
or mutual friends.) The existing set of features can be extended by applications designed for institutions of higher education, such
as Inigrals Schools, which make it easier for students to find classmates and share information without friending one another.

The use of Facebook to support learning inside and outside the classroom may be an untapped resource for instructors and
students; in our survey, about one-third of respondents said they wished that Facebook had more tools to help them with their
schoolwork. It may also be true that students are just beginning to understand the broader possibilities of Facebook use, as they
take a tool theyve grown familiar with and map it to other problems and tasks they face. Students who are able to capitalize on the
organizing features of SNSs may be at an advantage when they enter the professional sphere, where organizations are trying to
use social media in ways that support knowledge-sharing and culture-building.

As with other technologies, the process of determining best practices for using Facebook to support educational goals will be
challenging, and in our future research, we hope to identify best practices instructors can use to encourage students to use social
network sites in productive ways. Instructors may need to reorient themselves to working with commercial entities as opposed to in-
house tools and support, and will have to consider issues such as the ethics of exposing students to advertising messages, the
availability of technical support, and whether they wish to rely on third-party systems to archive graded student work. Some
observers have expressed concern about the fact that SNSs might encourage cheating. We included a set of questions in our
survey designed to measure this, and found that approved collaboration was much more common than unapproved uses while
close to half our respondents said they were likely or very likely to use Facebook to collaborate in a way their instructor would like,
less that one-fifth said they were likely or very likely to use it to collaborate on an assignment in a way their instructor would not like.
Of course, students may use SNSs to procrastinate when they should be studying or may access Facebook during class when they
should be participating or paying attention, but its important to remember that students have always found ways to procrastinate or
be distracted. An alternative perspective argues that the fact that Facebook is so engaging may mean that instructors should work to
find ways to harness this engagement for activities that work in conjunction with, not against, their pedagogical philosophies and
learning goals.

1. Facebook is freeand not only that, but it's also one of the best mediums for communication. You can send messages, start
a video call, and upload photos and videos without charge.

2. Facebook lets you connect to different people from anywhere in the world. People everywhere these days are familiar with
Facebook. This gives you the opportunity to learn more about the culture, values, customs, and traditions of other countries
a modern-day pen-pal service without the hassle. It also helps keep long distance relationships alive. Sometimes these
across-the-world relationships get serious and even end up in marriagea testament to the power of this social media

3. Facebook is the most convenient tool for finding old buddies and keeping friendships alive. Often when friends move away
its difficult to keep communicating with them. Facebook
provides the opportunity to easily communicate with your old friends and keep up-to-date one what they're doing. It's fun to
see their photos from around the world!

4. It's an easy way to share feelings and what's happening in your daily life. You can share your achievements to get some
appreciation, or you can share your sorrows to get support from your generous friends.

5. The site has good privacy settings, allowing you to choose your desired level of privacy.

6. Facebook fan pages, groups, events, etc. are getting more popular by the day. Fan pages and groups are very handy for
promotional activities. This is why almost every well-known brand has a Facebook fan page and is investing lot of money to
get exposure to their core constituents.

7. Facebook groups can also be a great way to connect all of your close friends. You can create a group and keep it private in
the group's settings. Features like group chat, notifications, file sharing, etc. can help you communicate and stay up-to-date

8. Facebook now also offers you an email address, another handy feature. These email works just like Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook,
and Hotmail, allowing you to send and receive email with users both within and outside of the site. The email address is
based on your Facebook user name. For example, if your username is "Ding Dong," your Facebook email address will be
"" You can also receive files attachment through Facebook email.

9. The newsfeed plays a very important role in getting the latest information. Facebook fan pages and users are constantly
sharing articles, photos, and videos.

10. If you're a business, the site also allows you to advertise. Fan pages are very helpful for a successful marketing campaign,
because they allow potential consumers to engage, stay informed, and share with friends.

11. You can chat both online and on your phone with Facebook messenger. For students who don't yet have a mobile device,
this messenger can be downloaded as an app on an iPod or tablet and used just like text messenging in areas with WiFi.

12. Many popular celebrities and organizations are using Facebook to give regular updates to their fans, allowing you to feel
closer to them than ever.

13. Students can use Facebook for group study by creating a group only for studying. There, you can share information about
your projects, homework, assignments, exams, due dates, etc.

14. Relationships can blossom on Facebook. For long distance couples, the easy communication can help keep the love alive all
the time they're apart. The site can even help people eventually tie the knot.

15. Facebook online games are popular and addicting. There are millions of users who regularly engage in these games.

16. Besides the games, there are thousands of applications, quizzes, etc. available.

17. You can also use the site to create your own social media platform. Share your article, blogs, photos, etc. to thousands of
18. Facebook's like button connects you to many other websites. If you see a like button on another website, you can click it to
like it on Facebook, making it more likely for your friends to see it in their own news feeds.

19. Your login ID means that you don't need to waste your time for registering other sites. Most sites and apps now allow you to
instantly register by logging in with your Facebook account.

20. Facebook is well-designed! There are no distracting colors or designs available. Facebook's simple design and efficient
performance made it the world's dominant social site.

21. What else? In a nutshell, Facebook is the full package of communication, education, entertainment and addiction!