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OUGD501 - COP - Physcology of Facebook Research

According to Facebook’s Newsroom, Facebook now has 901 million accounts (as of march 2012), with more than 500 million who are active on a daily basis. That’s an impressive figure considering that Facebook was only founded in 2004.

One can’t help but wonder what is it that makes Facebook such a popular and successful socialnetworking site. It has even gotten to a point where people could get addicted to Facebook, an unofficial condition known as Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).

If Facebook can be so alluring, there must be something about the activities within that users can derive satisfaction from. So what do people actually get out of Facebook? Perhaps by looking at the most common activities that users engage in on Facebook, we might be able to tell the psychological and social appeal of the social networking site:

To ask why would anyone think people care about their updates is to ask why do people want to talk and communicate with others. We’re, after all, social beings who wish to connect with the rest of the world.

The satisfaction comes about when our statuses get acknowledged, or even better, ‘approved’. Deep inside, we users know that each time we update our statuses, many of our ‘friends’ will get to see it and possibly react to it.

It is this awareness that makes us want to shout out (in fact, status updates used to be known as ‘shoutouts’ in Facebook) our statuses. Thereafter, it gradually becomes a conditioning process where the user gets rewarded with acknowledgment and approval each time his or her status receives feedback from ‘friends’.

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