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GRI, Gothenburg Research Institute, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg GRI-rapport

No 2012:3:
Sweden's largest Facebook study

Leif Denti (), Isak Barbopoulus, Ida Nilsson, Linda Holmberg, Magdalena Thulin, Malin Wendeblad, Lisa Andén and Emelie Davidsson

Abstract: The emergence of the Internet has made it easier for people to socially interact than ever before. Today, the most popular channel is Facebook with over 845 million users world wide. In Sweden, the number of users amount to approximately half of the population. We had two aims with this study. First, we investigate which areas of Facebook usage that Swedish Facebook users consider more important vis-a-vis less important. We were also interested in how users convey their persona through t... merheir status updates, including what they status update about, and the underlying reasons for updating one’s status. Second, we investigate what psychological effects Facebook may induce. More specifically, we look at the psychological constructs self-esteem and well-being in relation to Facebook usage. We surveyed 1011 Swedish Facebook users with our questionnaires, measuring respondents’ Facebook usage patterns, well-being and self-esteem. Our analyses revealed that on average Swedish women spend 81 minutes per day on Facebook, whereas Swedish men are logged on to the site about 64 minutes per day. Generally, Facebook is used for social network maintenance, such as maintaining contact with people one doesn’t meet so often. However, Facebook is seldom used for meeting new people. Another finding is that Facebook users generally tend to update their status about positive events, major events and when they are feeling well, rather than negative events and when they are feeling bad. Women seem to be more engaged and active on Facebook than men, agreeing that a vast number of uses is significantly more important. Furthermore, women tend to write more about their thoughts and feelings, whereas twice as many men state that they provoke others on Facebook. Pertaining to Facebook’s psychological effects, the amount of time spent on Facebook had no relationship with self-esteem when controlling for gender, age, education and income. $is result runs counter to previous findings. However, women who spend more time on Facebook report feeling less happy and feel less content with their lives. For men, this relationship was not evident. The study teaches that Facebook is used as a tool for affiliating with friends and family, as well as a personal showcase, where users show their positive sides. Herein lies also a danger. When Facebook users compare their own lives with others’ seemingly more successful careers and happy relationships, they may feel that their own lives are less successful in comparison.

Keywords: facebook; facebook usage; (follow links to similar papers)

38 pages, March 6, 2012

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