A new Swedish think tank called Forum Internet has published findings from research about business models, financing and motivations behind online communities. It is a bit unclear where these conclusions come from, but according to a presentation on its website, research shows that people are motivated by the following when they participate in social networks and online communities:
• To distance yourself from “everyday life”
• To display yourself
• To express yourself
• To explore others
• To be part of a group
• To build relations
• To join a category
I find some of these motivations to be quite vague and hard to understand. What does it mean to distance yourself from daily life? Is it just passing time or to be entertained? I would also like to argue that there are other motivational factors that are not as “social”, such as using technical features (sharing objects like photos or links) or getting access to information.
Either way, I think this research appear to support the view that “social interaction” is the main motivation why people use social networks.