Back in 2009 I wrote a Master’s thesis at San Diego State University about why do people spend so much time on Facebook. I was trying to understand what keeps people checking Facebook again and again and again and forget everything they were doing as soon as they open the blue page. Where does this addition come from? So I decided to analyze different motives of Facebook usage and then correlated this data with the amount of time spent on Facebook.
After my thesis defense I was frequently asked about my findings by friends and colleagues, but I never wrote anything about them in a blog. We are now in 2014 and until recently, I thought that social media have developed so tremendously since 2009 that my research would be outdated.
But a couple of weeks ago I realized that my findings could still be interesting and might offer some insight even now. At times I even think that nothing changed since 2009 and people use Facebook the same way.
So what did I find? First, yes, the amount of time spent on Facebook is defined by the motive that people use Facebook for. Let’s say, they might use Facebook to send messages, like sms or email. Or they might use it as a portfolio to showcase their professional success. Or as a way to build personal image… So which motive is the most time-consuming? I found that people who spend the most time on Facebook simply felt bored.