Watching the sudden surge in high school and college friends and former work colleagues flock to Facebook, I’ve been observing certain categories of users surface among them. This is purely observational, and I’m sure I’ve missed a category or two. If you have one that should be included on here, feel free to add in the comments.
- The Novice Entrant: Tentative at first, then goes through initial phase of obsessive use. Has a tendency to send too many Lil’ Green Patch requests, and will eventually settle into one of the user types that follows.
- The Deep End Diver: Jumps in and immediately friends anyone and everyone he or she knows, and uses FB constantly for a few weeks before realizing that maybe it would have been better not to friend so many so quickly. Gets burned at least once about calling in sick to work due to friending the manager of HR during the initial rash of acquiring friends. Soon becomes a lapsed user because by friending everyone, he realizes he’s inadvertently recreated the small-town atmosphere of everyone knowing exactly where you are and what you are doing that he has spent years trying to escape.
- The Dabbler: Finds use and fun in Facebook and updates steadily, but on an “as I have time basis.” Can easily go weeks without updating with no withdrawal symptoms.
- The Regimented User: Typically list-driven Type-A’s, the regimented user incorporates Facebook status maintenance as another task to be completed each day. Has a tendency to change FB status at the same time every day, and has a set number of comments to other peoples’ statuses that are fulfilled on a day to day basis. Photos are always thoroughly tagged and captioned, and in neat albums with pictures in either chronological or some other easily identified order.
- The Town Crier: Uses FB status updates to opine on anything and everything, from politics to weather to sports. Makes Statements, and occasionally will ask a question which you shouldn’t bother trying to answer because they are largely rhetorical anyway.
- The Disappearing Act: Signs up for a FB account, posts a few times, possibly adds a few pictures, then disappears for months at a time. Should not be confused with the Drifter.
- The Drifter: The Drifter got badgered into creating a FB page by friends and family (or possibly work), and doesn’t get what all the fuss is about. Occasionally signs in and updates, at first only during weekends and then only at major life events. If this person uploads a profile picture, it never changes.
- The Learner/Educator: Has presences on several social networks, but tends to favor one or two. Is an interested and sometimes even passionate user of FB, and has a tendency to drop FB references into normal (i.e., human-to-human) conversations. Still places a premium on real life experiences versus online, mostly because she can then let people know how very interesting and valuable Facebook is.
- The Power User: Updates via the FB page often, then decides that isn’t enough so integrates his or her Twitter stream in FB. Accesses via mobile phone and laptop, and is considering purchasing a netbook for all of those “in between” times. Doesn’t understand why his or her friends don’t update more often, as this is obviously a higher form of communication. Experiencing withdrawal from Facebook is not a possibility, because who would go anywhere that doesn’t have wifi? That’d be crazy. If social media isn’t a component of this type’s work, then something else is suffering. Houseplants and diet are first. Health goes next, followed by interpersonal relationships.
- The Addict: You know who you are. Not much can be done for you until they invent that chip that allows you to download directly from your brain to your FB page.
- The Moderate User: Updates on a fairly consistent basis, whenever there is free time. Experiences minor to moderate withdrawal when has no access for multiple days at a time. At any time can slip into one of the other types listed above, but usually returns quickly to moderate use status.
So, what type of Facebook users have you encountered?