Do you check Facebook several times a day? Maybe you play games with friends, post your opinions, check feedback on your posts, and look for chances to meet new friends.
If so, you may have a Facebook dependency. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, says Amber Ferris, an assistant professor of communication at The University of Akron's Wayne College.
Ferris, who studies Facebook user trends, says the more people use Facebook to fulfill their goals, the more dependent on it they become. However, she says this is not the same as an addiction.
Ferris and her colleagues studied 301 Facebook users who post at least once a month. They found that people who perceive Facebook as helpful in gaining a better understanding of themselves go to the site to meet new people and to get attention from others. Also, people who use Facebook to gain a deeper understanding of themselves tend to have agreeable personalities but lower self-esteem than others.
"They might post that they went to the gym. Maybe they'll share a post expressing a certain political stance or personal challenge they're facing. They rely on feedback from Facebook friends to better understand themselves," Ferris says.
Ferris explains that some users observe how others cope with problems and situations similar to their own "and get ideas on how to approach others in important and difficult situations." Other Facebook dependency signs point to users' needs for information or entertainment. In other words, a user knows about the local festival scheduled for this weekend thanks to Facebook.
Ferris' colleague Erin Hollenbaugh uncovered personality traits common among specific types of Facebook users.
For example, people who use Facebook to establish new relationships tend to be extroverted. Extroverts are more open to sharing their personal information online but are not always honest with their disclosures, Ferris says.
The most positive posts online come from those who have high self-esteem, according to Ferris.
"Those who post the most and are the most positive in posts do so to stay connected with people they already know and to gain others' attention," Ferris says. "This makes a lot of sense - if you are happy with your life, you are more likely to want to share that happiness with others on social media."