Here’s some quick and dirty data from my last 10 Facebook status updates. “Comments” are unique commentors, and do not count me.
February 1 (status update): three comments
February 5 (shared link): 1 “like,” and I believe one or two others shared the link with their friend. I explicitly asked for people to share the link.
February 9 (status update): one comments
February 11 (status update): four comments, but this was a specific question to a subset of my friends
February 12 (shared link): one comment
February 12 (status update): four comments
February 13 (status update): nothing.
February 18 (status update): one private message, but let’s ignore that.
February 19 (photo upload): 4 likes, 1 comment
February 19 (status update): 4 likes, 2 comments
All together, that’s about 25 public responses over just under three weeks. I have just under 200 Facebook friends.
Another one of my friends has about 850. Over the last month, he has somewhere between 150-200 status updates. My 10 updates to roughly 200 people meant that my updates were received (albeit not viewed) 2,000 times. His volume and network: 150,000 times received. His broadcast volume is seventy-five times greater than mine.
And received 17 public responses. Seventy-five times the updates yielded seventy-five percent of the public responses.
The truth is, we’re both outliers. Me? I typically won’t post something to Facebook unless I expect it to get a response, and looking back at my last ten updates, that rule was true for at least seven of the 10. I aim to engage and converse.
He, on the other hand, is a broadcaster. He publishes what he’s thinking and does it, literally, all day long. He pushes (presumably all of) his off-Facebook content to Facebook. And he is a very active Twitter with over 10,000 tweets in about three years. That’s one every two hours, if you assume he spends four per day asleep. He’s also active on FourSquare, blogs much more often than I do, uploads pictures to Flickr, etc. I don’t do much if any of these things.
Taking Facebook as a vaccum, mine clearly is — but Facebook isn’t a vacuum. My friend is one of the most active people in the New York tech sector, and by broadcasting everything — and by doing it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. — he hits people wherever they are. I get better quality and surprisingly, quantity on Facebook, but he bests me when you look at a larger picture. I tailor my message for my audience; he tailors his audience for his message.
Neither is necessarily better; rather, it’s a question of style or personal preference. Which do you do?