The seemingly meaningless comments and updates that appear on Facebook are valuable to users because they serve as constant reminders of a highly useful network of old classmates, acquaintances of acquaintances, and the like, according to a new report from the National IT User Center in Sweden. "The effect is that we perceive our Facebook friends as closer than other acquaintances who are not on Facebook," says Uppsala University's Hakan Selg.
Selg's study also found that private individuals have taken the lead in using social media for communication. As a result, companies and public agencies are looking for ways to take advantage of private individuals who have contact nets and user experience. Private individuals can use their networks to find jobs and housing, and business people can find help for problems and new contacts.
The report also suggests social media will enable users to reach more people, publish something for free, and establish foundations for their own activities. "This will probably enable more people to start their own businesses in the future, thus successively altering working life," Selg says.
From Uppsala University
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