Psychology Of Facebook

Facebook logoOne of the Persuasive Tech Lab’s projects has been to investigate Facebook and persuasion. This builds on the lab’s previous research into how Web 2.0 companies motivate and persuade people.

Facebook’s huge success is directly linked to its ability to persuade users. In BJ Fogg’s view, the best way to understand Facebook is to explore how this service is a platform for motivating and persuading people. No other perspective gives such insight into what makes Facebook tick. In other words, the psychology of Facebook is, at the core, the psychology of persuasion.

Facebook and Mass Interpersonal Persuasion

In 2007, BJ Fogg taught a novel course about Facebook which focused on optimizing Facebook apps by learning the psychology of Facebook and using engagement metrics to make good product decisions. The students used persuasive techniques to reach over 25 million people with their applications. The results of this course helped us tap into a new form of persuasion we call Mass Interpersonal Persuasion (MIP).

Psychology of Facebook Class at Stanford

what's the big deal about facebook image on white boardIn 2008 BJ Fogg taught a class at Stanford University called “Psychology of Facebook.” When planning the course, BJ Fogg invited people outside campus to join us. Many people did, either attending in person or watching the class live online.

A major course goal was to help participants become experts on some aspect of the psychology of Facebook. Students could select whatever topic they wished, and BJ Fogg would help them. Because his work focuses on the psychology of persuasion, Fogg encouraged the students to select topics that would give insight into how Facebook is a platform for changing attitudes and behaviors

A Book on the Psychology of Facebook

During Spring 2008 BJ Fogg issued a “Call for Chapters” that invited people everywhere to submit content for an edited volume. The intent was to bring together the best content from the class and beyond. Soon the editors received over 90 submissions for the book. This is in addition to the 65 chapters Stanford students wrote during the Facebook App class in Fall 2007.

Over 180 people joined the Review Board to help evaluate the submissions in a peer-review process. Up to seven people reviewed each submission and evaluated the work anonymously.

Psychology of Facebook Project Team

The following people have contributed their time and energy to this project.

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