Some people Facebook during sex, some will update their status whilst driving, some will do it to slag off their boss, whilst others will use it to stalk an ex.  With over 800 million users spread around the world there are no doubt many more reasons behind familiar uses of the site.

New research from Boston University attempts to take the lid off of our social networking behaviour however by asking why people use Facebook.  The study's hypothesis was that are motivations were typically split into two camps:

  1. The desire to belong
  2. The desire to show off

Inside Facebook

What is more interesting (imo) is a breakdown of who uses Facebook.  The study conducted demographic research into the kind of people that are heavy Facebook users versus those that aren't so keen.

The study joins other research into Facebook usage.  For instance past research has shown that narcissists are perhaps not surprisingly heavy Facebook users, with them using the site as a means of self promotion.  Another study revealed that the wall is the favourite feature of neurotic folks, whilst shy users were found to like using Facebook most, even though they generally have much fewer friends than non-shy people.

What is interesting however is that people classed as disciplined, organised and achievement-orientated reported the lowest Facebook usage of all.  So are smarter types turning away from Facebook?  Is it that they find belonging in more substantial ways or don't feel the need to boost their self-esteem by self promoting extensively?

If reaching out to this particular demographic it might be worth considering whether Facebook is really the platform for you to do so.  This is especially the case if you're using Facebook to screen potential recruits for instance.  With so called Facebook Resisters growing in number, reflected in a slowdown in Page growth reported yesterday, maybe the time has come for people to take an active stance and detox from Facebook for a while.