Facebook turned 10 yesterday amidst much fanfare. It released the "Paper" app, which is either the future of Facebook, or a lawsuit waiting to happen. Mark Zuckerberg predicted a future where Facebook will not only help you share pictures, but will "answer questions and solve complex problems." And Facebook released "Look Back," a page which creepily collects all of your posts into a short video narrating your time on Facebook. Considering most of my Facebook posts are dumb jokes, I found myself getting surprisingly misty-eyed at my own look back video.
The Pew Research Center marked the occasion by polling people about their Facebook usage, which told the story of where Facebook is in terms of usage in the U.S. Their findings were pretty interesting.
The demographic information wasn't all that surprising. 57% of all adults and 73% of all those ages 12-17 have Facebook accounts. Adults use it more regularly than they have in the past. Half of people who don't have a Facebook account live with someone who does.
But what did surprise me was that Pew found Facebookers like to "like" content other people post, but don't change their statuses that often. On a platform which is all about sharing and exhibitionism, people are starting to use it more as a listening post, to see what their friends are up to.
Speaking of what your friends are up to, a few years ago MIT's Sherry Turkle popularized he concept of "Fear of Missing Out," a notion that Facebook sparks anxiety in its users who compulsively check it to ensure that they are not missing some kind of exclusive or exciting social interaction. The Pew poll found that this only 5% of Facebook users reported this concern, and that people were more annoyed by oversharers, or people who tagged you in pictures without your permission.