The social networking site Facebook is fast approaching 1 billion users, but there are still 6 billion people who have not joined the site and only about 360 million of Facebook’s 860 million registered users visit the site at least six days a week. Research has found that 20% to 30% of those on Facebook are “power users” who are much more active on the site than the average user. Who is likely to join Facebook and actively engage on the site once they’ve joined?
A 2012 study by Cornell University and Facebook published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Structural Diversity in Social Contagion,” identifies Facebook recruitment and engagement patterns by examining the interconnectedness of a user’s friends on Facebook both before and after that person joins. The researchers studied approximately 10 million Facebook users who signed up during 2010 and had cultivated friend “neighborhoods” consisting of 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 friends one week after registration and who were actively engaged on the site three months after joining.
The study’s findings include:
The researchers conclude that “these findings suggest an alternate perspective for recruitment to political causes, the promotion of health practices and marketing; to convince individuals to change their behavior, it may be less important that they receive many endorsements than that they receive the message from multiple directions.”