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A shrewd survey from Facebook

This morning when I logged in to Facebook, I saw a little box asking me if I wanted to take a survey. I clicked yes. One question really surprised me.

The Facebook survey had some very typical questions — How likely would you be to recommend Facebook to someone you know? How trustworthy do you find Facebook? How reliable is Facebook? And then this oddball:

I’ve never seen a survey question like this, and I think this is an intriguing window into why Facebook is so addictive.

Consider. If you use Facebook, they already have massive volumes of data about you: All the demographic information you have voluntarily shared; behavioral patterns including how often you log in and what features you use; whether or not you use the Facebook Mobile app and where you are when you use it; and (probably) every time you visit a site with a Like button and whether you click on it. Assume Facebook has very good data people who can identify patterns, and very good experience designers who can optimize the site to deliver what users like most.

But what Facebook doesn’t have is a good understanding of what sort of people find the site most useful, and what sort have some troubling issues with it. Look at all the data points they’re collecting in that question above. They’ll learn fascinating things from it. Either they’ll be able to map personality types to how people enjoy the Facebook experience, or they’ll learn there’s no correlation at all — either way, that’s interesting.

If I had to propose a hypothesis, I’d guess enthusiastic Facebook users are more likely to describe themselves as organized, creative and sympathetic. (All words I’d use to describe myself, an admitted Facebook addict.)

When I filled out the survey, I told Facebook I found the site fun and useful — and not trustworthy. I suppose that’s a reflection of my personality — as a creative person, I like to let my mind explore unconventional pathways, and that includes being skeptical and looking for ulterior motives. I assume Facebook is not acting in my best interest and is looking to make a buck off me, and I’m totally OK with that arrangement as long as they keep providing value in my life. (I also don’t share anything on Facebook that I wouldn’t want read aloud in court.)

One trend that might be fascinating would be if the sort of person who finds Facebook fun and useful is also the sort of person finds Facebook not trustworthy. Could Facebook keep growing under that condition?

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Marketing, Social Media

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