If you spend a lot of time on Facebook, you’re far from alone. Some 1.28 billion people visit the all-mighty social media platform on an average day.
You may have lots of great reasons for Facebooking (including sharing—just watch out for signs you’re oversharing), but a bunch of Brigham Young University professors really wanted to understand the various motivations: “What is it about this social-media platform that has taken over the world?” lead author Tom Robinson asked, on Eurekalert. “Why are people so willing to put their lives on display? Nobody has ever really asked the question, ‘Why do you like this?'”
To figure it out, Robinson and his team analyzed a list of 48 statements identifying the reasons people visit Facebook. Participants rated various statements about their Facebook use on a scale from “most like me” to “least like me,” and then underwent interviews so researchers could gain a deeper understanding of their feedback.
According to the study’s findings, your Facebook habits classify you as a relationship builder, a town crier, a selfie, or a window shopper. Which one are you? Here’s the breakdown:
Relationship builders: Users who post and respond to others in an attempt to enhance relationships outside of their virtual world. “They use it as an extension of their real life, with their family and real-life friends,” Robinson told Eurekalert. People who fell into this group related strongly to statements such as “Facebook helps me to express love to my family and lets my family express love to me.”
Town criers: As their name suggests, these folks experience a larger gap between their real and virtual worlds. They’re less concerned with sharing posts, photos, and other details on their wall and view it more as a means of informing others of what’s going on in the news or in their day-to-day life.
Selfies: Self-promotion is the main priority for this type of Facebook user. They post pictures, videos, and text updates mainly for attention-seeking purposes. Study participants in this category identified strongly with the statement “The more ‘like’ notification alarms I receive, the more I feel approved by my peers.”
Window shoppers: Like town criers, window shoppers feel a strong sense of obligation to be on Facebook, though not for the purpose of inundating other users. They want to browse and follow along with other people’s activities, in a similar fashion to real-life people watchers.
Not totally sure which category you fall under? Researchers note that many users may identify with more than one category. For example, most users will relate to the selfie category to some degree; however, many will find that they gravitate toward one group more than the others. If nothing else, this gives you an idea of which type of Facebook user you might be and decide if you’re happy with that. Make sure you know what your social media profiles could be saying about you.