Social Media and Public Opinion – Full Thesis Published.

I have finally found the time to fully publish my thesis about Social Media and Public Opinion on this site. You can download the thesis here, click on “Thesis.” in the main menu above or simply click on the cover image underneath.

The Cover Page of the Printed Thesis

The Cover Page of the Printed Thesis

This thesis was written and defended as the final assignment (memoria de máster) of the Màster en Interculturalitat i Polítiques Comunicatives en la Societat de la Informació (Master in Interculturality and Communication Policies in the Information Society) at the Facultat de Filologia, Traducció i Comunicació at Universitat de València and was rewarded with a grade of 95%.

It is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (More information @ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/deed.en_US).

 

Network Value.

Last time I have been writing about the size of social networks, hence the quantitative characteristics. Today I want to continue with a brief article about a related subject: the value of networks. 

Since the advent of telecommunication and broadcast media, scholars from around the world studied the economies of mediated networks. To identify the value of a certain network was an important issue and part of monetization strategies. Network laws can be used as guidelines to determine the value of certain networks. Although an important aspect has always been the direct economic value of the network, other values such as diffusion, dynamic, or potency of the network are becoming increasingly important recently as they may lead to possible indirect monetization strategies. Although most of these laws have been invented with the concept of electronic networks in mind, it is also absolutely necessary to understand them for the study of non-mediated social networks.

An early law of the economics of computer-mediated networks is called Sarnoff’s law. This law was drafted in the early twentieth century by David Sarnoff, a pioneer of commercial US-American radio and television. Continue reading

Social Network Size.

In his 1993 study Robin Dunbar took a look at the proportion of the cortical size (the outer part of the brain, that is involved in higher functions such as spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and language) to the total brain size, and compared the results with group sizes and language of humans beings. Dunbar developed an equation to calculate an average group size that a human being is able to overlook. The result was 147.8, with a rather wide range of possible variation from 100.2 to 231.1. These cognitive limitations of stable social relationships have come to be known as Dunbar’s number (Dunbar, 1993). Continue reading

Social Media = 90% Marketing?

A reason why I started this blog is that discussions about social media topics mainly treat the marketing aspect of it.

The upcoming Social Media Week is a another example of this trend. The SMW is a congress taking place in 14 cities around the globe from September 24 – 28. I personally will attend a couple of presentations on the 28th in Barcelona.

Going through the agenda I was disappointed to encounter, that almost 90% of the presentations and workshops taking place in Barcelona are in some way connected to selling, marketing, business, or advertisement. Although these events are organized through various panels which suggest that it is not only about marketing (“Society and Environment”, “Education and Learning”, and “Politics and Government”) they are still dominated by the business aspect. For instance the panel “Culture and Lifestyle” with its round table about “Debate about the Industry of Computer Games” or the presentation of “Consumption of TV and Social Networks: 1+1=3″ or the panel “Education and Learning” with its workshop about “Social Media Marketing”.

Still, I will be going, just for a day, in order to take a look at this event and eventually connect to some of the Barcelonian Social Media cluster. Further reports coming up …

Thoughts on Social Media and Small Talk.

Again a very interesting podcast episode (again in German, sorry) has left me thinking about the topic of social media’s effects on small talk:

I think everybody who uses Twitter or Facebook recently has experienced a similar situation as the following. Saturday night you go out with your friend and you tell her how your week was.

You say: “Wow … crazy, on Tuesday I have found a 50 Euro bill in the street.”
Your friend: “Yeah I know, I have read it”

Of course she knows the story because you have twittered about it immediately.

In retrospect you might realize that the intention about the 50 Euro story was not to share this experience, but it is rather a tool for the initiation of more profound conversation, hence small talk (this must not be the only intention though, it could also be a tool to strengthen the relationship, but lets stick with the example).

Well, what has happened? Continue reading

Effectiveness of Social Media Bots.

To measure a machines success in imitating human behavior various techniques can be applied. This is commonly known as the Turing test, as developed by Alan Turing (1950). The effectiveness of bots can also be evaluated using a classical Turing test where the quantity and the quality of a bots output is measured and tested on a human test person.

Ineffective countermeasures:

This image shows a CAPTCHASocial network services such as Facebook have introduced certain security techniques to identify bots from humans such as CAPTCHAs (machine unreadabla pictures that can only be parsed by a human user) or automatic detection of massive friending, fake profile names and other unregular behavior. The effectivness of these measures is limited as Huber, et al. (2009) conlude: Continue reading

Social Bot Design Strategies.

At the time of writing social bots have still been barley examined. Only few academic research can be found on this topic and it is only possible to identify few design approaches of sophisticated social media bots. The few documented approaches have been published by researchers. It is to assume that there are other social bots that have not been identified yet.

We can identify social bots of three types: Continue reading

Social Media Product Design
affects Communication.

The result of social media communication depends greatly on the design of the social media product one uses. Just comparing the two most popular social media services Facebook and Twitter we immediately understand how different communication can become. Not only has the underlying social network a different typology and is based on different relationships but the way we post comments is highly different.

Comments on Twitter are limited to a length of 140 characters. This limitation has historical reasons and derives from the character limitation of SMS. In the beginning Twitter was very focused on providing their service via SMS. Still, nowadays this limitation has remained to be very Continue reading

Social Media as a Mind Set.

A couple of days ago I have retweeted an announcement about the podcast “One Click Society” from WeEarth Global Radio Network.

The latest episode from August 25, 2011 is an interview with social media expert and blogger Erik Deckers. Most of the interview is based on the use of social media in corporate communication, a topic which is interesting, but certainly not the one I like to focus on.

But what caught my attention were little ideas that popped up between the lines on the conversation and especially one kept me thinking: Continue reading

Classification of Social Media.

 

During my research on the very basics of Social Media I have encountered various approaches, solutions, and problems.

Certainly most of the information found on this topic online is very unprofessional, but still there are some researchers who have succeeded in providing academic frameworks to identify what SM is. One of these works come from Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) who have provided not only a good definition of SM, but have also also successfully classified different SM types. Continue reading