Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Mapping America’s attitudes toward marriage equality: Mapping opinion patterns reveals how our neighborhoods and communities vary in their acceptance, their laws, and their sentiments (expressed in social media) toward marriage equality

September 27, 2012 Comments off

Mapping America’s attitudes toward marriage equality: Mapping opinion patterns reveals how our neighborhoods and communities vary in their acceptance, their laws, and their sentiments (expressed in social media) toward marriage equality

Source: ESRI

Despite media attention, little data has been reported (especially with any local geographic detail) on how people view same-sex marriage across the nation.

While there has never been a comprehensive geographic survey on this subject, every community and neighborhood within the United States has been described using thousands of demographic variables. These variables can be combined and analyzed to determine spatial patterns and trends.

Recently voters passed California’s Proposition 8 and North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which forbid same-sex marriage. Using the voting results of these two pieces of legislation, Esri analyzed the demographic and consumer data of these voters to identify the geographic views of same-sex marriage. The results were then summarized using Esri’s Tapestry market segmentation system to extrapolate an acceptance index across the country.[1]

Colors on the resulting map show four relative levels of same-sex marriage acceptance by county and census tract. Size of the symbols indicate the total number of people in the county or tract. Within every community, there will be diverse levels of acceptance; for example, two neighbors may share opposite viewpoints. However, the map shows summary data on the relative acceptance of the overall community as they relate to other communities in the United States. Locations shown in dark green are more likely to be accepting as a general community than those communities shown in red.

You can explore how your acceptance of same-sex marriage correlates to the combined modeled results of your census tract, and you can explore how communities vary in their general acceptance across cities, counties, and the nation.

Mapping the overall acceptance index can help promote understanding by revealing the diversity of beliefs present in the United States. Review the next map (State Laws), to see how same-sex marriage laws compare with geographic acceptance patterns.

Social Media for Child Welfare Resource Guide

September 25, 2012 Comments off

Social Media for Child Welfare Resource Guide (PDF)

Source: National Resource Center for Child Data & Technology (Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Social media can help child welfare programs conduct activities ranging from advertising to staff recruitment, collaboration, networking, fundraising, and finding and supporting foster parents. Social media can help reach potential or current foster/adoptive parents, at‐risk parents, past or current foster youth, mandated reporters (such as teachers and doctors), a specific neighborhood, or staff of partner or champion organizations. Social media can potentially boost the effectiveness of a wide range of programs, such as adoption, child protective services, foster care, and youth development.

Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with PostBreakup Recovery and Personal Growth

September 19, 2012 Comments off

Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with PostBreakup Recovery and Personal Growth

Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Previous research has found that continuing offline contact with an ex-romantic partner following a breakup may disrupt emotional recovery. The present study examined whether continuing online contact with an ex-partner through remaining Facebook friends and/or engaging in surveillance of the ex-partner’s Facebook page inhibited postbreakup adjustment and growth above and beyond offline contact. Analysis of the data provided by 464 participants revealed that Facebook surveillance was associated with greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth. Participants who remained Facebook friends with the ex-partner, relative to those who did not remain Facebook friends, reported less negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the former partner, but lower personal growth. All of these results emerged after controlling for offline contact, personality traits, and characteristics of the former relationship and breakup that tend to predict postbreakup adjustment. Overall, these findings suggest that exposure to an ex-partner through Facebook may obstruct the process of healing and moving on from a past relationship.

See: Can post-breakup Facebook surveillance delay emotional recovery? (EurekAlert!)

Fixity: Identity, Time and Durée on Facebook

September 6, 2012 Comments off

Fixity: Identity, Time and Durée on Facebook
Source: Microsoft Research

The purpose of social network services (SNS) is to enable new ways of making contact and staying in touch. The finessed use of SNS can enable people to manage their social connections with fluidity; enabling change of social grouping and evolving identity. Key to this performance is that it is enacted through time. Certain aspects of SNS may of course create a fixing in identity and its performance, trapping people, for example, in a display of identity in the past that they have come to regret. In this paper, we shall report evidence that suggests that the temporal experiencing of Facebook with regard to this aspect of time and identity needs to be placed alongside another feature of the way the service is used. This leads people to feel as if they are always acting ‘in the now’ and that their history – as well as that of others they connect to – seems to disappear from view. We shall suggest that the performance of identity through time is thus constrained. Users seek but cannot find adequate ways of adjusting their identity by crafting past and future performances outside the envelope of identity in the present, in the ‘now’, the one facilitated and emphasized by Facebook design and use patterns.

Keeping Information Safe from Social Networking Apps

August 20, 2012 Comments off

Keeping Information Safe from Social Networking Apps
Source: Microsoft Research

The ability of third-party applications to aggregate and repurpose personal data is a fundamental privacy weakness in today’s social networking platforms. Prior work has proposed sandboxing in a hosted cloud infrastructure to prevent leakage of user information. In this paper, we extend simple sandboxing to allow sharing of information among friends in a social network, and to help application developers securely aggregate user data according to differential privacy properties. Enabling these two key features requires preventing, among other subtleties, a new “Kevin Bacon” attack aimed at aggregating private data through a social network graph. We describe the significant architectural and security implications for the application framework in the

How Academics Face the World: A Study of 5829 Homepage Pictures

August 16, 2012 Comments off

How Academics Face the World: A Study of 5829 Homepage Pictures

Source: PLoS ONE

It is now standard practice, at Universities around the world, for academics to place pictures of themselves on a personal profile page maintained as part of their University’s web-site. Here we investigated what these pictures reveal about the way academics see themselves. Since there is an asymmetry in the degree to which emotional information is conveyed by the face, with the left side being more expressive than the right, we hypothesised that academics in the sciences would seek to pose as non-emotional rationalists and put their right cheek forward, while academics in the arts would express their emotionality and pose with the left cheek forward. We sourced 5829 pictures of academics from their University websites and found that, consistent with the hypotheses, there was a significant difference in the direction of face posing between science academics and English academics with English academics showing a more leftward orientation. Academics in the Fine Arts and Performing Arts however, did not show the expected left cheek forward bias. We also analysed profile pictures of psychology academics and found a greater bias toward presenting the left check compared to science academics which makes psychologists appear more like arts academics than scientists. These findings indicate that the personal website pictures of academics mirror the cultural perceptions of emotional expressiveness across disciplines.

The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies

August 16, 2012 Comments off

The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies
Source: McKinsey and Company

In a few short years, social technologies have given social interactions the speed and scale of the Internet. Whether discussing consumer products or organizing political movements, people around the world constantly use social-media platforms to seek and share information. Companies use them to reach consumers in new ways too; by tapping into these conversations, organizations can generate richer insights and create precisely targeted messages and offers.

While 72 percent of companies use social technologies in some way, very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit. In fact, the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped. Companies will go on developing ways to reach consumers through social technologies and gathering insights for product development, marketing, and customer service. Yet the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises. MGI’s estimates suggest that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent.

Survey | Few Americans Use Social Media to Connect With Their Faith Communities

August 7, 2012 Comments off

Survey | Few Americans Use Social Media to Connect With Their Faith Communities

Source: Public Religion Research Institute

Overall, Americans report limited use of technology for religious purposes, both inside and outside of worship services.

  • Nearly half (45%) of Americans report using Facebook at least a few times a week, but few Americans incorporate technology into their practice of worship. Among Americans who attend religious services at least a few times a year, roughly 1-in-10 (11%) report posting status updates on their Facebook page or other social networking site about being in church. Ten percent of Americans report that they have used a cell phone to take pictures or record video during worship, and 7% say they have sent or read email during services.
  • Outside of religious services, most Americans are not relying on technology to connect to religious leaders and institutions or to generally practice their faith. Thirteen percent of Americans say they have downloaded a podcast of a sermon or listened to a sermon online. Fewer than 1-in-10 Americans report following a religious or spiritual leader on Twitter or Facebook (5%) or joining a religious or spiritual group on Facebook (6%).

New Media-Same Stereotypes: An Analysis of Social Media Depicitions of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

July 19, 2012 Comments off

New Media-Same Stereotypes: An Analysis of Social Media Depicitions of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

Source: Journal of New Media and Culture

To remain relevant, it is necessary for media scholars to test theories in new media environments. Building on feminist and critical race theory, this textual analysis investigates Facebook photos and pages targeting President Barack and Michelle Obama in 2011-12. Findings indicate Facebook fans build on historical stereotypes and cultural narratives to frame the two negatively. Representations often depict them as evil, animalistic and socially deviant. Study findings demonstrate that historical representations of Blacks are strong and have an impact on modern portrayals. This topic is particularly important today in this age dubbed “post-racial” to depict an era in which U.S. citizens elected the first black president. In addition to identifying the nuances of Facebook hate groups, this study explores historical representations of African Americans, discusses how they transcend to a new media platform and offers implications for future research. To navigate the rapidly changing media climate, students and media scholars must learn how to read and critically dissect Web content. This paper provides a good foundation upon which to build.

See: New media, old messages: Obama and family are target of ‘blackface’ racism on Facebook (EurekAlert!)

Mining Online Social Network Data for Biomedical Research: A Comparison of Clinicians’ and Patients’ Percept ions About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Treatments

June 28, 2012 Comments off

Mining Online Social Network Data for Biomedical Research: A Comparison of Clinicians’ and Patients’ Perceptions About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Treatments

Source: Journal of Medical Internet Research


While only one drug is known to slow the progress of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), numerous drugs can be used to treat its symptoms. However, very few randomized controlled trials have assessed the efficacy, safety, and side effects of these drugs. Due to this lack of randomized controlled trials, consensus among clinicians on how to treat the wide range of ALS symptoms and the efficacy of these treatments is low. Given the lack of clinical trials data, the wide range of reported symptoms, and the low consensus among clinicians on how to treat those symptoms, data on the prevalence and efficacy of treatments from a patient’s perspective could help advance the understanding of the symptomatic treatment of ALS.


To compare clinicians’ and patients’ perspectives on the symptomatic treatment of ALS by comparing data from a traditional survey study of clinicians with data from a patient social network.


We used a survey of clinicians’ perceptions by Forshew and Bromberg as our primary data source and adjusted the data from PatientsLikeMe to allow for comparisons. We first extracted the 14 symptoms and associated top four treatments listed by Forshew and Bromberg. We then searched the PatientsLikeMe database for the same symptom–treatment pairs. The PatientsLikeMe data are structured and thus no preprocessing of the data was required.

Results: After we eliminated pairs with a small sample, 15 symptom–treatment pairs remained. All treatments identified as useful were prescription drugs. We found similarities and discrepancies between clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions of treatment prevalence and efficacy. In 7 of the 15 pairs, the differences between the two groups were above 10%. In 3 pairs the differences were above 20%. Lorazepam to treat anxiety and quinine to treat muscle cramps were among the symptom–treatment pairs with high concordance between clinicians’ and patients’ perceptions. Conversely, amitriptyline to treat labile emotional effect and oxybutynin to treat urinary urgency displayed low agreement between clinicians and patients.


Assessing and comparing the efficacy of the symptomatic treatment of a complex and rare disease such as ALS is not easy and needs to take both clinicians’ and patients’ perspectives into consideration. Drawing a reliable profile of treatment efficacy requires taking into consideration many interacting aspects (eg, disease stage and severity of symptoms) that were not covered in the present study. Nevertheless, pilot studies such as this one can pave the way for more robust studies by helping researchers anticipate and compensate for limitations in their data sources and study design.

Branding Hospitality: Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices

June 28, 2012 Comments off

Branding Hospitality: Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices
Source: Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

Participants in the second annual Cornell Brand Management Roundtable examined both the elements of a strong brand and the place of social media in helping hospitality brands survive and thrive. While brand management fundamentals remain unchanged in the digital age, the widespread expansion of social media and smart phones, along with ever vigilant (and vigilante) guests creates a round-the-clock environment for all brands.

Excellent brands will continue to shine in this environment, but weak or defective brands may be swept away by the tsunami of digital information. One participant’s definition of a brand is “business strategy brought to life.” Under that rubric, everyone in the company should understand and be able to articulate their brand’s key differentiating points. Whether one is developing a new brand or upgrading an existing brand, innovating a brand involves a disciplined process that begins with recognizing a need and then taking the steps to determine how to fill that need in a way that resonates with customers. As an example, InterContinental Hotels Group has developed the new Even Hotels brand to fulfill an identified market gap for frequent travelers who wish to maintain their healthful balance and routines on the road.

The rise of social media has altered the relationship of brand and customer from a theoretical partnership to a continuous interaction. In particular, social media strongly influence consumers’ purchase processes. For example, brands in the original decision set may all be dropped by the time a purchase occurs and an entirely different brand—perhaps one suggested by strangers via social media—may be the final choice. Moreover, flash deals spur purchases that may be based on price rather than brand. To remain a strong brand in the presence of social media, a hospitality firm needs horizontal integration so that guests receive a consistent experience at all levels of brand contact.

Free registration required to download report.

The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life

June 21, 2012 Comments off

The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life

Source: Surveillance & Society

People create profiles on social network sites and Twitter accounts against the background of an audience. This paper argues that closely examining content created by others and looking at one’s own content through other people’s eyes, a common part of social media use, should be framed as social surveillance. While social surveillance is distinguished from traditional surveillance along three axes (power, hierarchy, and reciprocity), its effects and behavior modification is common to traditional surveillance. Drawing on ethnographic studies of United States populations, I look at social surveillance, how it is practiced, and its impact on people who engage in it. I use Foucault’s concept of capillaries of power to demonstrate that social surveillance assumes the power differentials evident in everyday interactions rather than the hierarchical power relationships assumed in much of the surveillance literature. Social media involves a collapse of social contexts and social roles, complicating boundary work but facilitating social surveillance. Individuals strategically reveal, disclose and conceal personal information to create connections with others and tend social boundaries. These processes are normal parts of day-to-day life in communities that are highly connected through social media.

MLRB — Acting General Counsel releases report on employer social media policies

June 12, 2012 Comments off

Acting General Counsel releases report on employer social media policies
Source: National Labor Relations Board

NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon today issued a third report on social media cases brought to the agency, this time focusing exclusively on policies governing the use of social media by employees.

The Operations Management Memo details seven cases involving such policies. In six cases, the General Counsel’s office found some provisions of the employer’s social media policy to be lawful. In the seventh case, the entire policy was found to be lawful.

Provisions are found to be unlawful when they interfere with the rights of employees under the National Labor Relations Act, such as the right to discuss wages and working conditions with co-workers.

“I hope that this report, with its specific examples of various employer policies and rules, will provide additional guidance in this area,” Mr. Solomon said in releasing the memo.

+ Full Document (PDF)

Designing Ranking Systems for Hotels on Travel Search Engines by Mining User-Generated and Crowd-Sourced Content

May 27, 2012 Comments off

Designing Ranking Systems for Hotels on Travel Search Engines by Mining User-Generated and Crowd-Sourced Content
Source: Social Science Research Network

User-Generated Content (UGC) on social media platforms and product search engines is changing the way consumers shop for goods online. However, current product search engines fail to effectively leverage information created across diverse social media platforms. Moreover, current ranking algorithms in these product search engines tend to induce consumers to focus on one single product characteristic dimension (e.g., price, star rating). This approach largely ignores consumers’ multi-dimensional preferences for products. In this paper, we propose to generate a ranking system that recommends products that provide on average the best value for the consumer’s money. The key idea is that products that provide a higher surplus should be ranked higher on the screen in response to consumer queries. We use a unique dataset of U.S. hotel reservations made over a three-month period through Travelocity, which we supplement with data from various social media sources using techniques from text mining, image classification, social geo-tagging, human annotations, and geo-mapping. We propose a random coefficient hybrid structural model, taking into consideration the two sources of consumer heterogeneity the different travel occasions and different hotel characteristics introduce. Based on the estimates from the model, we infer the economic impact of various location and service characteristics of hotels. We then propose a new hotel ranking system based on the average utility gain a consumer receives from staying in a particular hotel. By doing so, we can provide customers with the “best-value” hotels early on. Our user studies, using ranking comparisons from several thousand users, validates the superiority of our ranking system relative to existing systems on several travel search engines. On a broader note, this paper illustrates how social media can be mined and incorporated into a demand-estimation model in order to generate a new ranking system in product search engines. We thus highlight the tight linkages between user behavior on social media and search engines. Our inter-disciplinary approach provides several insights for using machine learning techniques in economics and marketing research.

Working the Network: A Manager’s Guide for Using Twitter in Government

May 18, 2012 Comments off
Source:  IBM Center for the Business of Government
Twitter—a microblogging service that allows for short updates of 140 characters—has grown to over 540 million registered accounts as of early 2012 . News organizations, corporations, and the U .S . government have adopted this new practice as an innovative form of interaction with their stakeholders . Many government agencies maintain at least one Twitter account, and even multiple accounts, based on their operational needs and their diverse audiences . It can be unclear to government Twitter users what the best strategies are for interacting with the public on Twitter, and how an agency can use Twitter in a meaningful way to support its organizational mission.
Twitter updates are seen as public conversations and are increasing not only transparency and potentially accountability, but can also—when used appropriately—lead to increased inclusion of public opinion in policy formulation through information aggregation processes . Twitter can be used effectively to involve a large number of citizens and create conversations with an engaged, networked public . The outcome of these conversations can be new insights and even innovations in the public sector including suggestions on how to make government more effective, or rapidly accelerating emergency responses that help to improve public safety.
This report is based on insights gained from discussions with social media directors in U .S . federal government agencies and observations of their daily Twitter tactics . Part I provides an overview of current strategies for using Twitter to interact with citizens. Four main strategies are identified:
  • push
  • pull
  • networking
  • customer service

In addition, hands-on best practices are presented for both public managers and social media administrators.

The Perils of Social Reading

May 10, 2012 Comments off

The Perils of Social Reading
Source: Social Science Research Network (Georgetown Law Journal)

Our law currently treats records of our reading habits under two contradictory rules – rules mandating confidentiality, and rules permitting disclosure. Recently, the rise of the social Internet has created more of these records and more pressures on when and how they should be shared. Companies like Facebook, in collaboration with many newspapers, have ushered in the era of “social reading,” in which what we read may be “frictionlessly shared” with our friends and acquaintances. Disclosure and sharing are on the rise.

This Article sounds a cautionary note about social reading and frictionless sharing. Social reading can be good, but the ways in which we set up the defaults for sharing matter a great deal. Our reader records implicate our intellectual privacy – the protection of reading from surveillance and interference so that we can read freely, widely, and without inhibition. I argue that the choices we make about how to share have real consequences, and that “frictionless sharing” is not frictionless, nor it is really sharing. Although sharing is important, the sharing of our reading habits is special. Such sharing should be conscious and only occur after meaningful notice.

The stakes in this debate are immense. We are quite literally rewiring the public and private spheres for a new century. Choices we make now about the boundaries between our individual and social selves, between consumers and companies, between citizens and the state, will have unforeseeable ramifications for the societies our children and grandchildren inherit. We should make choices that preserve our intellectual privacy, not destroy it. This Article suggests practical ways to do just that.

See: Privacy Law Expert Warns of the Perils of Social Media and Social Reading (Science Daily)

One Plus One Makes Three (for Social Networks)

May 9, 2012 Comments off
Source:  PLoS ONE

Members of social network platforms often choose to reveal private information, and thus sacrifice some of their privacy, in exchange for the manifold opportunities and amenities offered by such platforms. In this article, we show that the seemingly innocuous combination of knowledge of confirmed contacts between members on the one hand and their email contacts to non-members on the other hand provides enough information to deduce a substantial proportion of relationships between non-members. Using machine learning we achieve an area under the (receiver operating characteristic) curve () of at least  for predicting whether two non-members known by the same member are connected or not, even for conservative estimates of the overall proportion of members, and the proportion of members disclosing their contacts.

Incentives for Quality over Time – The Case of Facebook Applications

May 6, 2012 Comments off

Incentives for Quality over Time – The Case of Facebook Applications (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

We study the market for applications on Facebook, the dominant platform for social networking and make use of a rule change by Facebook by which high-quality applications were rewarded with further opportunities to engage users. We find that the change led to quality being a more important driver of usage while sheer network size became less important. Further, we find that update frequency helps applications maintain higher usage, while generally usage of Facebook applications declines less rapidly with age.

The Geographic Flow of Music

April 25, 2012 Comments off

The Geographic Flow of MusicSource:

The social media website provides a detailed snapshot of what its users in hundreds of cities listen to each week. After suitably normalizing this data, we use it to test three hypotheses related to the geographic flow of music. The first is that although many of the most popular artists are listened to around the world, music preferences are closely related to nationality, language, and geographic location. We find support for this hypothesis, with a couple of minor, yet interesting, exceptions. Our second hypothesis is that some cities are consistently early adopters of new music (and early to snub stale music). To test this hypothesis, we adapt a method previously used to detect the leadership networks present in flocks of birds. We find empirical support for the claim that a similar leadership network exists among cities, and this finding is the main contribution of the paper. Finally, we test the hypothesis that large cities tend to be ahead of smaller cities-we find only weak support for this hypothesis.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Hispanics in U.S. Highly Active on Mobile and Social

April 25, 2012 Comments off

Hispanics in U.S. Highly Active on Mobile and Social
Source: Nielsen

In the U.S., Hispanic consumers’ usage rates of smartphones, television, online video, social networking and other forms of entertainment make this group one of today’s most engaged and dynamic populations in the digital space, according to Nielsen’s recent State of the Hispanic Consumer: The Hispanic Market Imperative report. Mobile presents a significant avenue of opportunity for marketers looking to reach Hispanic consumers – Hispanic mobile users send or receive 941 SMS (text) messages a month, more than any other ethnic group. They also make 13 phone calls per day, 40 percent more than the average U.S. mobile user.

Social is another platform where Latinos are especially active and rising in numbers. During February 2012, Hispanics increased their visits to Social Networks/Blogs by 14 percent compared to February 2011. Not only are Latinos the fastest growing U.S. ethnic group on Facebook and from a year ago, but also Hispanic adults are 25 percent more likely to follow a brand and 18 percent more likely to follow a celebrity than the general online population.

Free registration required to download full report.


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