April 21, 2008|
This is the final part of my four-part analysis of Facebook applications. (For the preceding part, click here.) In this section, I will attempt to make some conclusions and predictions from all of the data that I collected. For a complete list of every single one of the Facebook pages that I analyzed, check at the bottom of the page for an Excel spreadsheet link. The names of the users have been deleted, but originally I used them to avoid accidental repetition during my research.
One of the most notable aspects when you take a look at the graphs (a PDF of all the graphs from the previous posts is included at the bottom of the post) is that not a single user had recently deleted an application. After looking at many users, I decided to check a few extended histories, but alas, I still found no deletions. Personally, I have deleted applications in the past, so I am aware that it happens. My theory is that users have begun to recognize when they want to add an application or not, and as such, are becoming more ‘picky' when they are presented with a new one. This would explain why there are still several additions present within the data. With so many applications now available, newer ones have to be worthwhile in order to garner interest from users. This is still possible, as Bumper Sticker proves, being a fairly recent application itself and already in the Top Ten.
Speaking of the Top Ten, my inner predictions were accurate. According to Adonomics.com, approximately 5%-10% of users have each of the individual applications installed, so if I am ranking ten of them, my statistics professor from college would be thrilled to know that I realized about half of the total users would have at least one of them.
It is also interesting to note that users that only have 1 to 2 applications typically had one of the Top Ten as that lone application. This makes perfect sense, since many of these are Hug Applications. Any user wanting to receive these pokes and hugs from other users must have the application installed; so many users probably have it simply to receive and not to give. It's total Christmas Stocking Syndrome.
I was pleased to find that a clear majority of users (of those who actually had applications) have 5 or less applications in their profiles. When I began this research study, I had a gut feeling that I would find more 9+ entries than any other kind of profile. Perhaps it is that those profiles simply stand out more. In my personal opinion, given that some of the user-created applications are fun, and dare I say, ‘useful,' it is perfectly reasonable to have five or fewer.
I was also not surprised to find that the majority of typical usage was for Extended Use. Some of the notable Extended Use applications–other than the ones already explicitly mentioned in the study–were ones that allowed users to post bigger pictures and give extra information about themselves. It's somewhat of an old Internet cliché: people do not want to be limited in anything that they are doing, no matter what it is. I was a tad surprised that Online Games were the least used category, but then again, users of Facebook can find free online games in other avenues. Why use Facebook when there are better games out there?
As I was researching prior to the study, I saw many web postings comparing Facebook to its main rival, MySpace. One of the main advantages to Facebook, according to those writings, was that it was not cluttered like MySpace profiles. I find it ironic that people add applications when this is the popular opinion. Many of the applications take up much space on a profile, adding a cluttered feeling to the overall page. Forget Christmas Stocking Syndrome, Facebook users suffer from wanting to have their cake and eat it too.