As privacy is always headline news on all facebook developments, other positive aspects of the service appear to be forgotten in the media. And there must be some desirable feature because despite several major fumbles and pr disasters (including Zuckerman’s inability to make a likeable, trustworthy impression to anyone…. anywhere), users still return to the site, post, chat, friend and share.
After conducting a small survey on what the service offers to active users find most appealing, five re-occurring themes kept surfacing. None of which was a more personalized web, but not necessarily because this wouldn’t be desirable to some. Taking into account all the mis-steps of the past, by now any changes facebook makes to the site are received with a high degree of suspicion. So… why do people resist the urge to delete their account and stick with the website, managing their privacy irritation as they go?
#1 – Friendship
Maintaining “relationships with friends” is the top reason for using the site. It was the service’s original offering and it is still the most desirable feature of the website today through all of its many evolutions. Some favorite friendship features mentioned are sharing pictures, wall messages and making good use of the birthday reminder.
#2 – Sharing Personal Interests with Like Minded People
Active users are frequently sharing on their wall, friends’ walls, and group pages content they find interesting. The suggestions page is a well-used feature that has succeeded in encouraging people to link to their friends’ groups.
#3 – A Place to Vent about Daily Life
Facebook provides a place for people to express more personal feelings to their friends and talk about their daily challenges. Supportive comments from friends and even a simple thumbs up can uplift a person’s day.
#4 – Promotion of Business
Businesses are joining in and creating their own facebook pages (whether it is strategically relevant/wise for their communications plan or not). It is a great, cheap resource for sharing company information, building awareness and showing a little bit of the corporate personality.
#5 – “Creeping”
And then there is the “creep,” which is also on 90% of the survey respondents’ minds. There is the old schoolmate creep, where the goal seems to be who got old and fat. There is also the ex-partner creep, where the goal is also to see if they got old and fat. You can creep future possible partners, ex-coworkers, current coworkers, and even HR personnel use it to creep on potential employees. Like a dirty little secret, the creep is not a highly publicized bonus feature of the site, but definitely seems to be absorbing some time spent on facebook. **PSA – keep on top of those privacy settings!**