Summary of findings
Half the adults and three-quarters of the teenagers in America use social networking sites (SNS)and Facebook by far is the most popular of these sites.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project fielded a nationally
representativephone survey about the social and civic lives of SNS users and reported the findings in June
2011 in a report entitled “Social networking sites and our lives.”
During the phone survey, 269of 877 original respondents who were Facebook users gave us permission to access data ontheir use of Facebook so that it could be matched with their survey responses. We partneredwith Facebook to match individual responses from the survey with profile information andcomputer logs of how those same people used Facebook services over a one-month period inNovember 2010 that overlapped when the survey was in the field.The results of that special analysis of 269 Facebook users identified in and recruited from arandom, representative telephone survey are reported here.
The average Facebook user gets more from their friends on Facebook thanthey give to their friends. Why? Because of a segment of
whospecialize in different Facebook activities and contribute much more than thetypical user does.
The typical Facebook user in our sample was moderately active over our month of observation,in their tendency to send friend
requests, add content, and “like” the content of their
friends.However, a proportion of Facebook participants
ranging between 20% and 30% of usersdepending on the type of activity
were power users who performed these same activities at amuch higher rate; daily or more than weekly. As a result of these power users, the averageFacebook user receives friend requests, receives personal messages, is tagged in photos, andreceives
feedback in terms of “likes”
at a higher frequency than they contribute.
power users tend to specialize. Some 43% of those in our sample were power users in at leastone Facebook activity: sending friend requests, pressing the like button, sending privatemessages, or tagging friends in photos. Only 5% of Facebook users were power users on all of these activities, 9% on three, and 11% on two. Because of these power users, and theirtendency to specialize on specific Facebook activities, there is a consistent pattern in our
“Social networking sites and our lives” available at