UW / Psychster Study Identifies Facebook’s 6 Basic User Types.

A new study by the University of Washington Master of Communication program in Digital Media (MCDM) in collaboration with Psychster Inc. has identified six basic user types on Facebook: Fans, Branders, Social-Searchers, Influencers, Gamers and Neutrals (acronym FBSIGN). The psychographic segmentation was published in the latest issue of the Four Peaks Review, and an interactive quiz was launched to help individuals learn their type.

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UW/Psychster Study Identifies Facebook User Types

UW/Psychster Study Identifies Facebook User Types

Many writers have speculated about the types of Facebook users, but this is the first to our knowledge to use the statistical technique of psychographic segmentation.

(PRWEB) October 17, 2012

Psychster Inc., a research firm specializing in the psychology of social media, in collaboration with the Master of Communication program in Digital Media at the University of Washington has published a study that identifies six basic user types on Facebook. The study surveyed 236 Facebook members and used factor and cluster analysis to reveal the following user types (remembered by the acronym FBSIGN):

  • Fans join interest groups based on politics, art, and music, and they often link their Facebook accounts to other websites.
  • Branders prefer public to private networking; they use Facebook to build a personal or commercial brand and to accumulate social capital.
  • Social-Searchers employ Facebook to learn about news, media, and entertainment, but they show little interest in apps and games.
  • Influencers share videos, links, and good deals with others, and they rarely use the private forms of messaging or sharing available on Facebook.
  • Gamers are motivated by games, apps, and coupons; they interact with strangers as often as acquaintances, and though fewer in number they log the most time on Facebook.
  • Neutrals are unmotivated by most of Facebook’s features including status updates, and they remain members only to keep connected to the events of family and friends.

The full methodology of the study, refined in two pilot tests and fielded in April 2011, can be found in the paper published in the June 2012 issue of the Four Peaks Review.

The researchers also developed an interactive quiz at http://psychsterdata.com/fbsign/quiz.php so that individuals can learn which psychographic segment describes them best.

According to lead author David Evans, Ph.D., “Many writers have speculated about the types of Facebook users, but this is the first to our knowledge to use the statistical technique of psychographic segmentation. More work is needed to flesh out the network properties and consumer behavior of these types, but we hope this research will one day help advertisers better target their ads to the right Facebook users.”

Kenneth Rufo, Ph.D., editor of the Four Peaks Review, said “The strength of this paper is that the segmentation is verified by rigorous statistical analysis. This gave it the validity needed to be actionable, and it complimented the other analytical essays in the same issue.”

The full title of the study is “Facebook’s 8 Fundamental Hooks and 6 Basic User Types” and was co-authored by Nora Robertson, Tenille Lively, Linda Jacobson, Mariana Llamas-Cendon, Heidi Isaza, Sam Rosenbalm, John Voigt, and Kevin Michael Martin.

About the University of Washington Master of Communication program in Digital Media:

The MCDM teaches professionals to understand and exploit the fast changing world of new media and distribution. Directed and taught by Department of Communication faculty and industry leaders, the MCDM maintains the rigorous academic standards of the University of Washington Graduate School. It hosts the Four Peaks TV show on UWTV, KING 5 TV, and Northwest Cable News. Courses are highly collaborative and emphasize innovation, entrepreneurship, community, and story.

About Psychster Inc.:

Psychster Inc. is a Seattle-based usability and user-research firm specializing in the psychology of social media since 2006. It has collaborated with Microsoft, Network Solutions, Allrecipes.com, Bookrags on past research studies.


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UW/Psychster Study Identifies Facebook User Types UW/Psychster Study Identifies Facebook User Types

UW/Psychster Study Identifies Facebook User Types