The headline above is not a sentimental declaration. Rather, it has been deduced from pure Facebook statistics. A recent study shows that most of our statuses and updates on Facebook are ‘seen’ by a rather huge audience, but only a fraction of this audience interacts with these updates.
Interestingly, when it comes to administrators and advertisers, Facebook is quick to reveal the number of people who ‘saw’ a given post. This helps determine such posts which are popular.
But same is not true for our profiles. When a Facebook user posts a status on his personal account, he doesn’t exactly know the number of people who ‘saw’ the post and simply ignored it. Rather, he gets to know only about the people who ‘liked’ or commented on the post.
The result of this is that most Facebook users tend to underestimate their audience. Naturally, if 100 people saw your status update and only 5 ‘liked’ it, you would automatically assume that your audience, through that status, comprises of less than 10 people.
Facebook is well aware of the actual size of the audience for any given status or update. But the company tends to keep this number secret. Why? Probably because once the users learn how they are mostly ignored by their friends and family, they may not feel too good about Facebook.
According to a Stanford University study which took into consideration 220,000 users, it was estimated that an average Facebook user reached 35% of his friends with each post and 61% of his total friends over an entire month. Interestingly, most users underestimate their audience and are not aware that they are able to reach out to so many people through their updates.
The study asked, “Why do people underestimate their audience size in social media?” The research team explained that “in order to reduce cognitive dissonance, users may lower their estimates for posts that receive few likes or comments. It might be more comfortable to believe that nobody saw it than to believe that many saw it but nobody liked it.”
Sadly, Facebook does not share the detailed numbers about individuals posts and updates with the users, which leaves them having inaccurate measures about their audience.