Is Anybody Listening? Facebook Users Underestimate Personal Reach, Study Finds

Facebook Admit it: every time you post something on Facebook, you hope it will get “likes” or comments from your friends. In a previous blog I wrote about a study that found using online social networks can have a positive effect on self-esteem and well-being, especially for those who have high levels of attention (likes and comments) on posts deemed ‘life events’ by the social platform.

Have you ever felt disappointed by the lack of attention from your friends on Facebook? When you post something and it gets no attention from friends in the form of likes or comments, does it make you think nobody saw it? The average Facebook user has very little information about who actually sees their content, and a new study from researchers at Stanford University addresses the seemingly invisible audience when there is low reaction to a post. The study was conducted in tandem with Facebook’s data science team, which looked at 220,000 users over the course of a month. They discovered that Facebook users drastically underestimate the size of their general audience by a factor of three, with “Facebook users reaching 35% of their friends with each post and 61% of their friends over the course of a month.” Researchers found that social media users consistently underestimate their audience size for their posts, guessing that their audience is just 27% of its true size.

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