Published this month in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, a new Facebook study suggests personality type determines how much time you spend on the social networking site and how often you visit.
At the root of the study, its authors hoped to uncover the reasons why so many users flock to the site and spend time there, or rather, what are the motivations behind the phenomenon.
The study by the University of Connecticut’s Daniel Hunt and Archana Krishnan and Michigan State’s David Atkin found that much of what caused people to spend time on Facebook could be traced back to personality and a desire to be entertained.
The authors comment on the results from the study:
“The entertainment motive was shown to be the most powerful predictor of how much time participants spent on Facebook,”
“If individuals are using Facebook for entertainment purposes, this differs from cases where it’s being used to maintain relationships. For example, individuals may use Facebook in a similar fashion to a blog or to promote their viewpoints.”
Looking at motivational factors that could encourage individuals to spend time on Facebook, the researchers found that entertainment and passing time, along with information seeking, to be the top driving forces for visiting the social site. So, in other words, people are just looking to keep themselves occupied and entertained.
While self expression was mentioned in the study a possible factor for visiting Facebook, limitations of the design kept the authors from formulating any theories on how it actually played into the time spent. Oddly enough, maintaining relationships wasn't found to be the top factor, as many would expect.
Perhaps we overestimate how important staying connected to people 24/7 is. Everybody is different, but constantly making social comparisons between yourself and others has been found to be unhealthy for many, especially in younger populations where ridicule and persecution are common place for those who go against the mainstream.