How many times have you started typing something on Facebook but either left it alone or immediately deleted it? Most Facebook users (the smart ones, anyway) watch what they say and censor themselves before posting. According to a research project done by two PhD students at Carnegie Mellon, 71 percent of Facebook users think twice before posting on the site.
The study surveyed the Facebook behavior of 3.9 million users by measuring how many entries over five characters people entered but did not post. The study found that men self-censored most often, especially if they had large groups of male friends. People with diverse friend groups self-censored less often.
Given the number of off-the-wall Facebook statuses that pop up on a day to day basis, the study’s findings are somewhat of a surprise. Facebook is a medium that encourages oversharing, often quite literally, like when the site added more fields to fill out in a person’s biographical information. If you’ve ever hovered anxiously over your keyboard while composing that perfect status update, you can relate to the hesitation. It can’t be a bad thing that more and more people are carefully considering what they share on Facebook before they share it.