Facebook stereotypes: which type are you?

To continue where I left off yesterday, we also asked the participants of a ConsumerLab study among Swedish teenagers to describe different Facebook personalities. Here's what we found.

The results of the study showed that in order to be perceived as 'normal' on Facebook, it is important not to be too visible or active. Instead, the normal user has an active lifestyle that takes place outside of Facebook. He or she regularly makes contributions to Facebook but is particular about what he/she publishes and considers what might be interesting to others. He/she has a positive, witty, but not too personal, tone and abides to all the social rules and regulations.

When discussing how different people can come across on Facebook, there are a few clear stereotypes which the participants want to avoid being associated with:

The Stalker

The stalker secretly visits certain people's profiles obsessively throughout the day. He/she pays a lot of attention to people who are not actual friends. Also he/she can comment or like the statuses of these people, which make them feel uneasy. The stalker is a person who is lonely and desperate for interaction.

The Attention Seeker

Someone who is too visible on Facebook and reveals too much about him/herself. The attention seeker consciously posts detailed information about where he/she is and what he/she does throughout the day. This information takes up a lot of space in everyone's newsfeeds which can make the attention seeker annoying to have as a Facebook friend. Some of the participants have a love/hate relationship to the attention seeker. Attention seekers are annoying, but they
can also be entertaining and provide a lot of fuel for conversation topics among friends.

The Voyeur

The voyeur is someone who is very curious about what other people do and post on Facebook, but at the same time overly cautious about exposing themselves. The voyeur is rarely or never seen on Facebook at all. But all the while he/she is watching from a distance to look into the lives of others and feed of the contributions that they make. The voyeur is breaking one of the basic Facebook rules: you have to give something in order to get.

The Gossip Monger

The gossip monger is someone who stirs up rumors and intervenes in situations where he/she is not entitled to do so. The gossip monger is very concerned about how the relations of others evolve on Facebook and misuses the transparency of Facebook and the opportunities to gain insight into the matters of others.

The Lecturer

The lecturer is a person who has many and quite specific areas of interests. He/she frequently uses the Internet to absorb information and find gems of media content. The lecturer is never hesitant to post these on Facebook, even if it means clogging everyone else's newsfeed with an abundance of information which might not be relevant or interesting to anyone else. The lecturer is not sensitive to the interest of others and therefore annoying as a Facebook friend.

The Savage

The Facebook savage is someone who is seemingly oblivious to all the social rules and protocols of Facebook. He/she is“all over” Facebook, adding people as friends without considering the nature of the relationship or commenting on the statuses of people he/she doesn’t really know. The savage generally has poor judgment and tags people in incriminating images without giving it much thought and writes embarrassing messages on the walls of his/her contacts. The savage can typically be someone who is older and doesn't know the rules of Facebook very well, for instance a parent.

 

 

 

The Facebook stereotypes should be avoided, but in reality everyone has streaks of the different characters in them. There are desires to gain more recognition than is socially acceptable to ask for, desires to stalk others, teach them about music and films and so on. The important aspect is however what is seen on Facebook. As long as the Facebook profile is kept clean and interesting everything is fine. It is therefore important to play the cards right and attend to appearance.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Mikael Eriksson Björling
Mikael is Senior Lead Designer at the Ericsson UX Lab and an Ericsson Evangelist.
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