why do people use facebookFor those of us who use Facebook – 13 000 000 South Africans and 124 500 000 in Africa – there are two simple things that I would like us to look at, why do we use Facebook and then the next logical step to that is why we Join or Like a Facebook page.

Facebook has more than 1 Billion active users worldwide, so this network is rather important.


Our task here is to focus on you and not your law firm page.

Why do you use Facebook?
• Stalking people
• Information
• Bragging
• Birthday reminders
• News
• Voicing your opinion
• Entertaining content
• Networking
• Sharing your life.

Stalking people
Not that we want to start a stalking frenzy, but a large chunk of the user base use Facebook to silently follow what other people are doing and to keep tabs on them. From romantic obsessions to parents trying to keep an eye on their teenage children.

I think this is a growing part of social media, where we source information and also share the information that we know will be important to others. Look at the growth of people buying and selling goods in local community Facebook pages. What about people posting warnings or no-go areas – all this real-time information sharing is becoming a real attraction to users.

Nobody wants to admit that they use Facebook to brag, but there are many people who enjoy stuffing it in your face that they are better off than the rest. Or you just want to share the great places you are visiting at the time – well that is sort of bragging anyway.

Birthday reminders
I doubt anybody uses Facebook just for the birthday reminders, but it does seem to do a very good job of it, and 99% of the people in Facebook share their special day in the information, so even if you are not really close to someone to get their birthday, Facebook dishes it out.

No replacement to News24, but the amount of real-time news available to you, by just being in Facebook is plenty – plus it is shared by people on the ground so to say and offers personal opinions on what is happening.

Voicing your opinion
Facebook is a wonderful “Soap Box” opportunity – if you have enough of a following and you get poor service, no better or faster way to get the suppliers attention that to voice your opinion of their service or product on Facebook…with a gentle tagging of their page in the picture.

Or getting your opinion about something that is happening that you feel strongly about. Joining a movement for a worthy cause.

Offering advice to your friends.

Entertaining content
There is a lot of fun on Facebook – the funny clips, funny pictures, famous sayings, interesting finds – the list goes on and on.

Finding out what you long lost school classmates are up to, where they ended up, how their family is doing. Meeting new people, staying in contact with loved ones overseas or just getting a little closer to friends.

Sharing your life
A little bit of bragging and a little bit of networking – you share your highlights on Facebook to show your friends what you have been up to, instead of phoning all of them every night on “call more” time to get each of the 250 friends the latest social news. Yip, the average user on Facebook has 250 friends.

A note to everyone – the only time your meal is worth sharing on Facebook is when you are served the most beautiful plate of food from the absolute top restaurant in the city. Not a fuzzy picture of the warmed up stew on mash from last night.

Why do you share something or like a Facebook page?
• Interesting things
• Important things
• Funny things
• Opinions
• Product recommendations
• Supporting a cause
• Unique events or things.

Interesting things
When you see something interesting, and you know somebody else will be interested, your share it. Or if you find that a certain page always has something interesting, you will like the page to be available to receive further interesting information.

Important things
Hopefully we all care about our fellow being, and the closer they are to us, we more we want to warn them about impending dangers or important facts. So we share these important things.

Funny things
People love to laugh, easy to share a good joke or funny picture.

Either we are for or against an opinion – what better way to voice our opinion by clicking the like button or sharing the post to our timeline. Even if we disagree, we share the fact that this person is an idiot.

Product recommendations
When we find a really good product or service, we share this orchid award with our friends, when we are dealt a rotten onion we share the experience with everyone to see. Nothing promotes a product like un-solicited personal reviews from the public.

Supporting a cause
1 Billion active people and a worthy cause – how could you not want to use Facebook to promote your worthy cause.

Unique events or things
I would guess this is an “Important thing” – but the fact that you know this event or thing is unique, makes you want to share it with other people. Those “never seen before” clips that launch you into another site are rather irresistible – until it takes forever to load and you give up the link!

The above are not all the reasons, just a few I have identified through research. Maybe use the “One Click” survey on the left of the home page above the Facebook icon to show us what makes you use Facebook. Or if you think there is something important I have omitted, add a comment below to share.

I know you all think I have lost it talking about why people use Facebook, but there is method in my madness, hang onto your seats for next week’s Law Firm Marketing 101 post.


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