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Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement

July 18, 2014 Comments off

Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 56: Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement compiles current literature and practice on how airport operators utilize social media to enhance customer engagement.

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Using Ethical-Response Surveys to Identify Sources of Disapproval and Concern with Facebook’s Emotional Contagion Experiment and Other Controversial Studies

July 15, 2014 Comments off

Using Ethical-Response Surveys to Identify Sources of Disapproval and Concern with Facebook’s Emotional Contagion Experiment and Other Controversial Studies
Source: Microsoft Research

We surveyed 3570 workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to gauge their ethical response to five scenarios describing scientific experiments—including one scenario describing Facebook’s emotional contagion experiment. We will post an update of this paper containing the results and analysis on or after 12:01AM Pacific on Monday July 14.

Measuring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Twitter

July 11, 2014 Comments off

Measuring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Twitter
Source: AAAI Publications, Eighth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media

Traditional mental health studies rely on information primarily collected through personal contact with a health care professional. Recent work has shown the utility of social media data for studying depression, but there have been limited evaluations of other mental health conditions. We consider post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious condition that affects millions worldwide, with especially high rates in military veterans. We also present a novel method to obtain a PTSD classifier for social media using simple searches of available Twitter data, a significant reduction in training data cost compared to previous work. We demonstrate its utility by examining differences in language use between PTSD and random individuals, building classifiers to separate these two groups and by detecting elevated rates of PTSD at and around U.S. military bases using our classifiers.

Twitter as Social Sensor: Dynamics and Structure in Major Sporting Events

July 11, 2014 Comments off

Twitter as Social Sensor: Dynamics and Structure in Major Sporting Events
Source: MIT

Twitter often behaves like a “social sensor” in which users actively sense real-world events and spontaneously mention these events in cyberspace. Here, we study the temporal dynamics and structural properties of Twitter as a social sensor in major sporting events. By examining Japanese professional baseball games, we found that Twitter as a social sensor can immediately show reactions to positive and negative events by a burst of tweets, but only positive events induce a burst of retweets to follow. In addition, retweet networks during the baseball games exhibit clear polarization in user clusters depending on baseball teams, as well as a scale-free in-degree distribution. These empirical findings provide mechanistic insights into the emergence and evolution of social sensors.

Hat tip: Research Buzz

The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce

July 3, 2014 Comments off

The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

The purpose of this study was to examine how social networking site (SNS) use, specifically Twitter use, influences negative interpersonal relationship outcomes. This study specifically examined the mediational effect of Twitter-related conflict on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes, and how this mechanism may be contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. A total of 581 Twitter users aged 18 to 67 years (Mage=29, SDage=8.9) completed an online survey questionnaire. Moderation–mediation regression analyses using bootstrapping methods indicated that Twitter-related conflict mediated the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The length of the romantic relationship, however, did not moderate the indirect effect on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The results from this study suggest that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, breakup, and divorce. This indirect effect is not contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. The current study adds to the growing body of literature investigating SNS use and romantic relationship outcomes.

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks

July 1, 2014 Comments off

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.

Contraction of Online Response to Major Events

June 26, 2014 Comments off

Contraction of Online Response to Major Events
Source: PLoS ONE

Quantifying regularities in behavioral dynamics is of crucial interest for understanding collective social events such as panics or political revolutions. With the widespread use of digital communication media it has become possible to study massive data streams of user-created content in which individuals express their sentiments, often towards a specific topic. Here we investigate messages from various online media created in response to major, collectively followed events such as sport tournaments, presidential elections, or a large snow storm. We relate content length and message rate, and find a systematic correlation during events which can be described by a power law relation—the higher the excitation, the shorter the messages. We show that on the one hand this effect can be observed in the behavior of most regular users, and on the other hand is accentuated by the engagement of additional user demographics who only post during phases of high collective activity. Further, we identify the distributions of content lengths as lognormals in line with statistical linguistics, and suggest a phenomenological law for the systematic dependence of the message rate to the lognormal mean parameter. Our measurements have practical implications for the design of micro-blogging and messaging services. In the case of the existing service Twitter, we show that the imposed limit of 140 characters per message currently leads to a substantial fraction of possibly dissatisfying to compose tweets that need to be truncated by their users.

Americans Say Social Media Have Little Sway on Purchases

June 25, 2014 Comments off

Americans Say Social Media Have Little Sway on Purchases
Source: Gallup

A clear majority of Americans say social media have no effect at all on their purchasing decisions. Although many companies run aggressive marketing campaigns on social media, 62% in the U.S. say Facebook and Twitter, among other sites, do not have any influence on their decisions to purchase products.

Despite tremendous numbers of Americans using social media institutions such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter, only 5% say social media have “a great deal of influence” on their purchasing decisions, while another 30% say these channels have “some influence.” These data, from Gallup’s new State of the American Consumer report, are based on Americans’ self-reported estimates of how much social media campaigns affect their purchasing decisions. While social media may have more influence than some Americans realize or will admit, these data show that relatively few consumers consciously take into account what they learn from social media when making purchases.

Rising Tides or Rising Stars?: Dynamics of Shared Attention on Twitter during Media Events

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Rising Tides or Rising Stars?: Dynamics of Shared Attention on Twitter during Media Events
Source: PLoS ONE

“Media events” generate conditions of shared attention as many users simultaneously tune in with the dual screens of broadcast and social media to view and participate. We examine how collective patterns of user behavior under conditions of shared attention are distinct from other “bursts” of activity like breaking news events. Using 290 million tweets from a panel of 193,532 politically active Twitter users, we compare features of their behavior during eight major events during the 2012 U.S. presidential election to examine how patterns of social media use change during these media events compared to “typical” time and whether these changes are attributable to shifts in the behavior of the population as a whole or shifts from particular segments such as elites. Compared to baseline time periods, our findings reveal that media events not only generate large volumes of tweets, but they are also associated with (1) substantial declines in interpersonal communication, (2) more highly concentrated attention by replying to and retweeting particular users, and (3) elite users predominantly benefiting from this attention. These findings empirically demonstrate how bursts of activity on Twitter during media events significantly alter underlying social processes of interpersonal communication and social interaction. Because the behavior of large populations within socio-technical systems can change so dramatically, our findings suggest the need for further research about how social media responses to media events can be used to support collective sensemaking, to promote informed deliberation, and to remain resilient in the face of misinformation.

Geo-located Twitter as proxy for global mobility patterns

June 18, 2014 Comments off

Geo-located Twitter as proxy for global mobility patterns (PDF)
Source: Cartography and Geographic Information Science (via MIT Senseable City Lab)

Pervasive presence of location-sharing services made it possible for researchers to gain an unprecedented access to the direct records of human activity in space and time. This article analyses geo-located Twitter messages in order to uncover global patterns of human mobility. Based on a dataset of almost a billion tweets recorded in 2012, we estimate the volume of international travelers by country of residence. Mobility profiles of different nations were examined based on such characteristics as mobility rate, radius of gyration, diversity of destinations, and inflow–outflow balance. Temporal patterns disclose the universally valid seasons of increased international mobility and the particular character of international travels of different nations. Our analysis of the community structure of the Twitter mobility network reveals spatially cohesive regions that follow the regional division of the world. We validate our result using global tourism statistics and mobility models provided by other authors and argue that Twitter is exceptionally useful for understanding and quantifying global mobility patterns.

A Manager’s Guide to Assessing the Impact of Government Social Media Interactions

June 18, 2014 Comments off

A Manager’s Guide to Assessing the Impact of Government Social Media Interactions
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

This new report addresses the key question of how government should measure the impact of its social media use. This question is gaining increased attention within government as agencies rely more heavily on social media to interact with the public, including disseminating information to citizens.

Many believe government has been successful in using social media over the last decade. Social media has also greatly assisted the current administration in fulfilling its Open Government Initiative to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration. Government managers now face the challenge of more effectively measuring public participation and the impact of social media outreach efforts. A key additional step involves the development of a social media strategy for an agency.

Translating Research For Health Policy: Researchers’ Perceptions And Use Of Social Media

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Translating Research For Health Policy: Researchers’ Perceptions And Use Of Social Media
Source: Health Affairs

As the United States moves forward with health reform, the communication gap between researchers and policy makers will need to be narrowed to promote policies informed by evidence. Social media represent an expanding channel for communication. Academic journals, public health agencies, and health care organizations are increasingly using social media to communicate health information. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now regularly tweets to 290,000 followers. We conducted a survey of health policy researchers about using social media and two traditional channels (traditional media and direct outreach) to disseminate research findings to policy makers. Researchers rated the efficacy of the three dissemination methods similarly but rated social media lower than the other two in three domains: researchers’ confidence in their ability to use the method, peers’ respect for its use, and how it is perceived in academic promotion. Just 14 percent of our participants reported tweeting, and 21 percent reported blogging about their research or related health policy in the past year. Researchers described social media as being incompatible with research, of high risk professionally, of uncertain efficacy, and an unfamiliar technology that they did not know how to use. Researchers will need evidence-based strategies, training, and institutional resources to use social media to communicate evidence.

Social Media Metrics for Government: A New Manager’s Handbook

June 11, 2014 Comments off

Social Media Metrics for Government: A New Manager’s Handbook
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

One of the most important questions to ask during a job interview or when preparing for an annual review is: “What constitutes success” or “what does success look like.” For private sector organizations, there are often very easily quantifiable metrics: number and size of sales, or year-to-year growth. Even in the nonprofit sector, there can be widely-understood metrics: rate of growth for membership lists, the volume of participants at events, or the number of calls made or postcards sent during an awareness campaign.

Unfortunately, in the public sector, there aren’t always hard-and-fast metrics. Unlike many private-sector companies, it’s not as simple for public-sector organizations simply to report that they sold more widgets than in the previous year, or that they kept the sales constant while bringing down the cost of operations. Agency missions change and evolve, and while some agencies have predictable, stable workloads that are roughly the same one year to the next, others–say, disaster relief organizations–may literally have their activities dictated to them by the caprices of the weather.

For people who plan or execute social media activities, this question–”what does success look like”–has a special piquancy. On the one hand, there are already many tools to measure many aspects of social media engagement, and many more coming online all the time. But the risk, as ever, is that agencies can look at the wrong metric and begin to tailor their social media practices in the wrong ways, distracting themselves from, rather than advancing, their goals.

A new report, “A Manager’s Guide to Assessing the Impact of Government Social Media Interactions” aims to help managers understand the tools that agencies are using to determine if their social media efforts are advancing their strategic goals. The report is grounded in Obama administration’s Open Government initiative and provides insights on how social media interactions can help increase collaboration, participation, and transparency by harnessing the use of new technologies. The insights are derived from qualitative in-depth interviews with social media managers in the U.S. federal government, review of existing social media strategies and policies, and academic literature study.

Employer Access to Social Media Usernames and Passwords

May 28, 2014 Comments off

Employer Access to Social Media Usernames and Passwords
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Increasing numbers of Americans use social media both on and off the job. Recently, some employers have asked employees to turn over their usernames or passwords for their personal accounts. Some employers argue that access to personal accounts is needed to protect proprietary information or trade secrets, to comply with federal financial regulations, or to prevent the employer from being exposed to legal liabilities. But others consider requiring access to personal accounts an invasion of employee privacy.

State lawmakers introduced legislation beginning in 2012 to prevent employers from requesting passwords to personal Internet accounts to get or keep a job. Some states have similar legislation to protect students in public colleges and universities from having to grant access to their social networking accounts.

Online and social media data as a flawed continuous panel survey

May 24, 2014 Comments off

Online and social media data as a flawed continuous panel survey
Source: Microsoft Research

There is a large body of research on utilizing online activity to predict various real world outcomes, ranging from outbreaks of influenza to outcomes of elections. There is considerably less work, however, on using this data to understand topic-specific interest and opinion amongst the general population and specific demographic subgroups, as currently measured by relatively expensive surveys. Here we investigate this possibility by studying a full census of all Twitter activity during the 2012 election cycle along with comprehensive search history of a large panel of internet users during the same period, highlighting the challenges in interpreting online and social media activity as the results of a survey. As noted in existing work, the online population is a non-representative sample of the offline world (e.g., the U.S. voting population). We extend this work to show how demographic skew and user participation is non-stationary and unpredictable over time. In addition, the nature of user contributions varies wildly around important events. Finally, we note subtle problems in mapping what people are sharing or consuming online to specific sentiment or opinion measures around a particular topic. These issues must be addressed before meaningful insight about public interest and opinion can be reliably extracted from online and social media data.

The EU Elections on Twitter: Mixed Views about the EU & Little Passion for the Candidates

May 23, 2014 Comments off

The EU Elections on Twitter: Mixed Views about the EU & Little Passion for the Candidates
Source: Pew Research Journalism Project

A new Pew Research Center analysis of the conversation on Twitter leading up to the European Parliament elections suggests mixed sentiment toward the European Union (EU) and a general lack of passion about the candidates seeking the European Commission presidency.

In the analysis of more than 1.2 million tweets in English, French and German collected between May 1-14, a decidedly mixed view about the EU emerged. In English, 31% of the assertions on Twitter about the EU were positive toward the EU (which included the EU directly, its institutions and Europe), compared with 39% that were negative and 30% that were neutral. The Twitter conversation in French broke down the same basic way—33% positive, 39% negative and 28% neutral. And while the German language conversation about the EU on Twitter was much more positive (39%) than negative (5%), these views were embedded in a low intensity conversation that represented a mere fraction of the Twitter activity in French and English.

The positive view toward the EU was reflected in a tweet from Finnish minister Alexander Stubb who wrote: “We need the EU for four simple reasons: peace, prosperity, security and stability. We can do more together, than alone.” The opposite view was voiced in a tweet from @MetManPH noting that, “It’s not racist to believe that membership of the EU is not in Britain’s best interests.”

Measuring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Twitter

May 21, 2014 Comments off

Measuring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Twitter (PDF)
Source: Johns Hopkins University (International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM) – 2014)

Traditional mental health studies rely on information primarily collected through personal contact with a health care professional. Recent work has shown the utility of social media data for studying depression, but there have been limited evaluations of other mental health conditions. We consider post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a serious condition that affects millions worldwide, with especially high rates in military veterans. We also present a novel method to obtain a PTSD classifier for social media using simple searches of available Twitter data, a significant reduction in training data cost compared to previous work. We demonstrate its utility by examining differences in language use between PTSD and random individuals, building classifiers to separate these two groups and by detecting elevated rates of PTSD at and around U.S. military bases using our classifiers.

Use of Internet, Social Networking Sites, and Mobile Technology for Volunteerism: Implications for Volunteer Recruitment and Engagement

May 20, 2014 Comments off

Use of Internet, Social Networking Sites, and Mobile Technology for Volunteerism: Implications for Volunteer Recruitment and Engagement
Source: AARP Research

When thinking about ways to incorporate social media and mobile technology into volunteer recruitment and engagement strategies, focus on actively engaging volunteers who are already in the social media and mobile space. These volunteers are more likely to engage actively on social media in a volunteer role than those who are less comfortable or familiar with the technology. According to survey findings, the frequency of use of social networking sites was a key predictor of the willingness of adults, age 40 and older, to perform nearly all of the volunteer-related activities examined.

Engage volunteers and non-volunteers through easy and enjoyable small actions to get them thinking about the issues important to the organization’s mission and, accordingly, build the foundation for potential deeper engagement. Survey findings show the most popular activities that 40+ Internet users were willing to perform were fairly light forms of engagement, including going online to learn about volunteer opportunities (32% were willing); joining an online group or community that shares their commitment to a cause or issue that they care about (31%); and sharing information about a cause or issue they care about on a social networking site (30%).

As smart phone and tablet prevalence continues to grow, and as mobile devices represent the primary way many younger adults, Hispanics and African Americans access the Internet, it is important that volunteer organizations explore incorporating mobile technology into their volunteer recruitment and engagement strategy, particularly when searching for potential ways to increase the diversity of their volunteer base. Survey findings show about a fifth of 40+ Internet users were willing to download a mobile app to locate volunteer opportunities in their area (21%) and sign-up for text alerts about available volunteer opportunities (19%).

As volunteers leave their current traditional positions, use this time to re-evaluate positions for potential virtual volunteering opportunities (i.e., volunteer positions that are carried out over the Internet) that are attractive to both traditional volunteers and contemporary volunteers looking for episodic or short-term opportunities. Nearly a quarter of Internet users (24%) were willing to volunteer virtually, according to survey findings.
Volunteers have increasingly become more mission-minded. As such volunteers should be encouraged to speak about the benefits of their volunteer work—and its impact on the communities they serve–via their personal social media profiles. Volunteers can be important advocates for volunteer programs as they can give a volunteer’s perspective of what it is like to serve as a volunteer for the program.

Curation through use: Understanding the personal value of social media

May 19, 2014 Comments off

Curation through use: Understanding the personal value of social media
Source: Microsoft Research

Content generation on social network sites has been considered mainly from the perspective of individuals interacting with social network contacts. Yet research has also pointed to the potential for social media to become a meaningful personal archive over time. The aim of this paper is to consider how social media, over time and across sites, forms part of the wider digital archiving space for individuals. Our findings, from a qualitative study of 14 social media users, highlight how although some sites are more associated with ‘keepable’ social media than others, even those are not seen as archives in the usual sense of the word. We show how this perception is bound up with five contradictions, which center on social media as curated, as a reliable repository of meaningful content, as readily encountered and as having the potential to present content as a compelling narrative. We conclude by highlighting opportunities for design relating to curation through use and what this implies for personal digital archives, which are known to present difficulties in terms of curation and re-finding.

Threats to belonging on Facebook: lurking and ostracism

May 14, 2014 Comments off

Threats to belonging on Facebook: lurking and ostracism
Source: Social Influence

We examined two threats to belonging and related needs on Facebook: lurking (Study 1) and ostracism (Study 2). In Study 1, participants were either allowed or not allowed to share information on Facebook for 48 hours. Those who were not allowed to share information had lower levels of belonging and meaningful existence. In Study 2, participants engaged in a laboratory-based Facebook activity. Half of the profiles were set up so that participants would not receive any feedback on their status updates. Participants who did not receive feedback on their updates had lower levels of belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence. Together, these findings indicate that a lack of information sharing and feedback can threaten belonging needs.

Hat tip: Research Buzz

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