One thing I have come to appreciate through my research is the varied ways in which people use social media. Each person integrates and makes meaning of their social media presences in their own way. However, there also seem to be some trends in ways people interact. The following infographic struck me as surfacing some important ways in which we choose to interact online.
In particular, the following infographic from first direct (a British bank) reminded me of the classic 1% rule (also known as the 90-9-1 rule). This “rule” highlights the idea that only 1% of internet users are truly engaged in creating most of the content we find online. 9% of people are occasional contributors and a majority (90%) are lurkers who look but don’t often create or engage. The actual numbers are less important (and subject to debate) than the principle that engagement online is not evenly distributed. You can see some of these groupings represented below.
Also of particular interest to me in the infographic was the statistic in the lower right:
“One in Seven Facebookers say it is important that people Like or reply to their updates.”
From what I have witnessed in my own research, I would expect this number to be much higher. The need for Likes and engagement was particularly high amongst my college student sample. My guess is that: (1) this need may be highly correlated with age, and that younger people might feel this need even more than those that are older, and that (2) many people may feel this way but they are not willing to admit it in public or through a survey. The need for validation through Likes is real, particularly amongst emerging adults who may still be subject to needing validation from others.
- Have you experienced a “need” for Likes and comments?
- Why do you think people care?
- What type of “social media personality” are you?