What Is The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual? What’s A Simple Way To Collect Data On This Topic? How Do We Then Visualise That Data?
Social media plays a big role in our daily lives – keeping us connected with friends and family, formulating into our everyday routine, providing a platform to be mentally and socially active, and allowing us to create and maintain our online identity and online citizenship. But how much is Facebook really worth in the eyes of users?
For my ARTS2090 Visualisation project, my group and I decided to visualise ‘The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual’. In particular, I wanted to see what the affects on usage of the social networking site would be if the whole site itself, or several of its features, were hidden behind paywalls. We know that the Times now implements an online paywall for its articles and content, but what if social networking sites were to adopt this practice? Would YOU boycott Facebook if it hid behind a paywall? How much do YOU value Facebook?Paywalls are seen as a boundary to publishing, especially when the nature of the internet is to share information. In one of my earlier blog posts ‘The Affects On Paywalls On Digital Publishing And What It Could Mean For My Own Publishing’, I looked at how paywalls would affect the way we publish information, in particular in regards to news content and social networking. A “voluntary sharing and exchange of information for the purpose of connectivity” (Ibrahim 2008, Nardi 2005). Also, as Facebook plays such an important role in the lives of many, how much do they value it? Are they dependant on it. Using new-media has become a ‘Media Ritual’ (Couldry 2003).
So, my group, consisting of Kady Holt, Jana Malos & I, set off to collect data in order to visualise the worth of Facebook to individuals. How did we go about collecting the data? The easiest data collecting tool that we found, and that a few of the other assignment groups used was the simple question survey. We created a survey on surveymonkey.com, consisting of 9 simple questions, each with different answering methods such as as ratings, choosing one answer, choosing more than one answer, written responses, etc.After creating our survey, we published the links to it via Facebook so that we could get Facebook users particularly around the same demographic as ourselves in order to obtain the data. Once we had gotten 100 responses, we closed the collection links, and then Survey Monkey analysed our data for us.
The next step was to visualise this data, and compile the visualisations together in one format. So here are the slides containing the visualisations of the data received from our 9 questions:
I’ll quickly explain 2 of the visualisations I created:
The question we asked our respondents was ‘Which Facebook Feature Do You Most Value?’. As respondents could only choose one answer, the results were easy to visualise. So, sticking to our Facebook theme, I decided to emulate the act of “liking” a certain status or page on Facebook, and visualised the data this way. As such, “Wall Post – 41 people like this” = 41 people said that this is the feature they most value. For the “Other” response, created my version of “commenting” on a status. Respondents could fill in an answer box what they value that wasn’t part of the initial options, hence the “commenting” visualisation.
We asked users what their intentntions were when posting information on Facebook, and they could choose more than 1 answer, hence the numbers. Using paint, which I did for all each of my 3 visualisations, I created this little men with different expressions that correspond to the intention, and then one added to the powerpoint, I then made the speech bubbles. It’s a unique way to publish and visualise data, but one that I thought suited this question.
Overall, we visualised data about an important topic in social network and publishing, and looked at a new way of publishing data through visualisations. Every aspect of this visualisations – the colours, images, texts, variables, etc – are important, like the Actor Network Theory suggests. All these elements combine to best represent the data and emerging patterns in ‘The Worth Of Facebook To The Individual’. Furthermore, the publics that would find this information useful, Facebook users, non-users, and the Facebook/Social Networking companies have here some basic models to understand just how much individuals value Facebook.
- Couldry, Nick. “Media Rituals: The Short and the Long Route.” Media Rituals: A Critical Approach, London, Routledge, 2003, pg 1-20
- Ibrahim, Y 2008, ‘The new risk communities: Social networking sites and risk’, International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 245-253.
- Nardi, B.A. 2005, ‘Beyond Bandwidth: Dimensions of Connection in Interpersonal Communitation,’ Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, 14: pp. 91–130.