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The global economic impact of Facebook: Helping to unlock new opportunities

January 27, 2015 Comments off

The global economic impact of Facebook: Helping to unlock new opportunities
Source: Deloitte

Key findings in the report include:

  • The United States is estimated to capture the largest share of economic impact enabled, $100bn;
  • High rates of engagement enabled $21bn of economic impact in Central and South America;
  • The thriving app economy in EMEA has helped to generate $13bn of economic impact for the region through the platform effects; and
  • In APAC internet uptake and purchases of devices motivated by Facebook have contributed to $13bn of economic impact.

How Are Important Life Events Disclosed on Facebook? Relationships with Likelihood of Sharing and Privacy

January 26, 2015 Comments off

How Are Important Life Events Disclosed on Facebook? Relationships with Likelihood of Sharing and Privacy
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

This study examined an aspect of Facebook disclosure that has as yet gone unexplored: whether a user prefers to share information directly, for example, through status updates, or indirectly, via photos with no caption or relationship status changes without context or explanation. The focus was on the sharing of important positive and negative life events related to romantic relationships, health, and work/school in relation to likelihood of sharing this type of information on Facebook and general attitudes toward privacy. An online survey of 599 adult Facebook users found that when positive life events were shared, users preferred to do so indirectly, whereas negative life events were more likely to be disclosed directly. Privacy shared little association with how information was shared. Implications for understanding the finer nuances of how news is shared on Facebook are discussed.

Hashtag Standards For Emergencies

January 20, 2015 Comments off

Hashtag Standards For Emergencies (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Key Messages

• The public is using Twitter for real-time information exchange and for expressing emotional support during a variety of crises, such as wildfires,1-3 earthquakes,4-6 floods,3,13 hurricanes,21 political protests,11, 25-27 mass shootings,15, 17 and communicable-disease tracking.31 By encouraging proactive standardization of hashtags, emergency responders may be able to reduce a big-data challenge and better leverage crowdsourced information for operational planning and response.

• Twitter is the primary social media platform discussed in this Think Brief. However, the use of hashtags has spread to other social media platforms, including Sina Weibo, Facebook, Google+ and Diaspora. As a result, the ideas behind hashtag standardization may have a much larger sphere of influence than just this one platform.

• Three hashtag standards are encouraged and discussed: early standardization of the disaster name (e.g., #Fay), how to report non-emergency needs (e.g., #PublicRep) and requesting emergency assistance (e.g., #911US).

• As well as standardizing hashtags, emergency response agencies should encourage the public to enable Global Positioning System (GPS) when tweeting during an emergency. This will provide highly detailed information to facilitate response.

• Non-governmental groups, national agencies and international organizations should discuss the potential added value of monitoring social media during emergencies. These groups need to agree who is establishing the standards for a given country or event, which agency disseminates these prescriptive messages, and who is collecting and validating the incoming crowdsourced reports.

• Additional efforts should be pursued regarding how to best link crowdsourced information into emergency response operations and logistics. . If this information will be collected, the teams should be ready to act on it in a timely manner.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior

January 19, 2015 Comments off

Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior (PDF)
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. The analysis presented is based on a dataset of over 58,000 volunteers who provided their Facebook Likes, detailed demographic profiles, and the results of several psychometric tests. The proposed model uses dimensionality reduction for preprocessing the Likes data, which are then entered into logistic/linear regression to predict individual psychodemographic profiles from Likes. The model correctly discriminates between homosexual and heterosexual men in 88% of cases, African Americans and Caucasian Americans in 95% of cases, and between Democrat and Republican in 85% of cases. For the personality trait “Openness,” prediction accuracy is close to the test–retest accuracy of a standard personality test. We give examples of associations between attributes and Likes and discuss implications for online personalization and privacy.

Social Media and the Cost of Caring

January 16, 2015 Comments off

Social Media and the Cost of Caring
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

The survey analysis produced two major findings that illustrate the complex interplay of digital technology and stress:

  • Overall, frequent internet and social media users do not have higher levels of stress. In fact, for women, the opposite is true for at least some digital technologies. Holding other factors constant, women who use Twitter, email and cellphone picture sharing report lower levels of stress.
  • At the same time, the data show there are circumstances under which the social use of digital technology increases awareness of stressful events in the lives of others. Especially for women, this greater awareness is tied to higher levels of stress and it has been called “the cost of caring.” Stress is not associated with the frequency of people’s technology use, or even how many friends users have on social media platforms. But there is one way that people’s use of digital technology can be linked to stress: Those users who feel more stress are those whose use of digital tech is tied to higher levels of awareness of stressful events in others’ lives. This finding about “the cost of caring” adds to the evidence that stress is contagious.

Pew Internet — Social Media Update 2014

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Social Media Update 2014
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

In a new survey conducted in September 2014, the Pew Research Center finds that Facebook remains by far the most popular social media site. While its growth has slowed, the level of user engagement with the platform has increased. Other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn saw significant increases over the past year in the proportion of online adults who now use their sites.

The results in this report are based on the 81% of American adults who use the internet. Other key findings:

  • Multi-platform use is on the rise: 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites, a significant increase from 2013, when it stood at 42% of internet users.
  • For the first time, more than half of all online adults 65 and older (56%) use Facebook. This represents 31% of all seniors.
  • For the first time, roughly half of internet-using young adults ages 18-29 (53%) use Instagram. And half 0f all Instagram users (49%) use the site daily.
  • For the first time, the share of internet users with college educations using LinkedIn reached 50%.
  • Women dominate Pinterest: 42% of online women now use the platform, compared with 13% of online men.

The Impact of User-Generated Content on Sales: A Randomized Field Experiment

January 6, 2015 Comments off

The Impact of User-Generated Content on Sales: A Randomized Field Experiment (PDF)
Source: Technischen Universität Darmstadt

This study examines the causal relationship between popularity information and purchasing behavior in an online store. In a randomized field experiment we exogenously manipulated the visibility of user-generated content similar to Google’s +1s or Facebook’s Likes. Displaying the number of people who “Like” a product caused a +12.97% sales increase (13,883.74 EUR in the treatment group; 12,289.46 EUR in the control group). We find that popularity information influences shopping behavior significantly if it is displayed in the consumers’ leisure time. This result is consistent with observational learning. For well-planned and goal-oriented purchases, knowing the preferences of others is of little importance. This information is more valuable on not so goal-oriented and, hence, more time-consuming shopping trips where consumers are searching for interesting, new products. The results also suggest that Likes have a significant monetary value, but without orthogonal variation, the valuation of Likes can easily be overestimated (by a factor of 2.26 in our sample).

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