There are four types of Facebook users

Facebook smartphone

Image credits Krzysztof Kamil

For users like this, Facebook is essentially an extension of their life, and lets them "express love to family" and family express love back. However, users typically identify more with one than others.

"What is it about this social-media platform that has taken over the world", lead author Tom Robinson, Professor at the Brigham Young University, said in a statement. However, unlike the first group, they post selfies, pictures, videos and text updates on Facebook to focus on getting attention, likes and comments and not strengthening relationships.

"Social media is so ingrained in everything we do right now", Boyle said.

To find out, the team compiled a list of 48 statements created to gauge potential reasons why people visit the platform. Unconcerned with sharing photos, stories or other information about themselves, they instead "want to inform everybody about what's going on", Robinson said.

Window shoppers: These users are on Facebook to see what they can find out about others - just digital people watching. Participants were asked to sort these statements in a way that they felt reflected their personal connection to the ideas and then rate them on a scale from "least like me" to "most like me".

Study participants in this category identified highly with the statement "The more "like" notification alarms I receive, the more I feel approved by my peers".

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There are four types of Facebook users

People who fall under this category use Facebook to further their personal relationships.

Based on the responses to a questionnaire, the researchers have put users under four broad categories - relationship builders, town criers, selfies, or window shoppers and explained their motivations ranging from "building on real-world relationships" to focussing on "likes" and attention. They identify with statements such as "I can freely look at the Facebook profile of someone I have a crush on and know their interests and relationship status".

Finally, the researchers interviewed each subject to get a deeper understanding of their rankings and ratings. Study co-author Kris Boyle says selfies use Facebook "to present an image of themselves, whether it's accurate or not".

Previous research into social media has explored users falling in the relationship-builder and selfie groups, but the town criers and window shoppers were a novel (and unexpected) find.

"Nobody had really talked about these users before, but when we thought about it, they both made a lot of sense", he said. They are a bit like relationship builders.

Well, as the researchers point out, Facebook users might identify with more than one category, but will usually relate to one group more than the others. Most people have at least some selfie tendencies, researcher said.

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