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Social Networking Research in Europe Social Networking Research in Europe Document Transcript

  • Social Networks Report Alvaro Barriales Quintana Dilara ADAYLAR Domoina Arzal June 07, 2010 Annecy
  • Table of Contents 1 THE PROJECT AND OBJECTIVES OF SURVEY ............................................................................ 3 2 METHODOLOGY .................................................................................................................... 3 2.1 Sample, schedule and tool ............................................................................................. 3 2.2 Adjustments .................................................................................................................. 4 2.3 Profile of the Respondents ............................................................................................. 4 2.4 Limitations .................................................................................................................... 5 3 DATA ANALYSIS AND THE RESULTS ........................................................................................ 5 3.1 Behavior towards Social Networks ................................................................................. 5 3.2 Intermediate Summary for behavior towards social networks ...................................... 10 3.3 Habits of users towards the most important social networks ........................................ 10 3.4 Intermediate Summary for habits of users towards the most social networks ............... 14 3.5 Shared contents and applications................................................................................. 15 3.6 Intermediate summary for shared contents and applications ........................................ 17 3.7 Cluster Analysis ........................................................................................................... 17 3.7.1 Methodology ....................................................................................................... 17 3.7.2 Cluster Analysis for opinions toward social networks ............................................ 18 3.7.3 Cluster Analysis for motivations............................................................................ 21 3.8 Potential Improvements for social networks ................................................................ 23 4 MANAGERIAL SUMMARY .................................................................................................... 24 5 RECOMMENDATIONS .......................................................................................................... 25 6 THE NEW SOCIAL NETWORK AND ITS’ DESIGN ..................................................................... 27 7 APPENDIX ........................................................................................................................... 33 2
  • 1 THE PROJECT AND OBJECTIVES OF SURVEY The European Master in Business Studies (EMBS) is a master degree in management with a focus on marketing. This program is run by four different universities in various European countries (University of Trento in ITALY, University of Savoie in FRANCE, University of Kassel in GERMANY and University of León in SPAIN). As part of the studies in “Marketing Research” in the University of Savoie, each year the EMBS students work on a marketing research project about a specific topic. This year, EMBS students decided to work on a project related to the online social networks. Social networks are communities of individuals or organizations directly or indirectly linked, who are gathered according to common interests, such as musical tastes, passions or professional life. On the Internet, many websites are the source of creation of these networks, such as LinkedIn in the professional world, or Facebook, MySpace for the general public. In addition, social networks are becoming more and more popular every day, and more than 350 ones are commonly used around the world. Hence, the objective of this project is to analyze the behaviors of young people (between 15 and 30 years old) towards social networks in order to define their needs. Lastly, with the help of the key findings of this research, the EMBS students would have to give recommendations for a new and potential social network offering a new concept and new or better applications. 2 METHODOLOGY To reach the above-mentioned goals, we firstly created an online survey in order to analyze the behaviors, opinions and preferences of young people. In this survey we focused on three main points: their behaviors towards the use of social networks, their opinions about the social networks they mostly use, their motivations for using social networks. After creating the online questionnaire1 in English, the EMBS students who come from six different countries (France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain and Turkey) translated it into their mother tongues. 2.1 Sample, schedule and tool As the project aims at analyzing the behaviors towards social networks, we decided to address the online questionnaire to young European people between 15 and 30 years old. In order to get in contact with young Europeans and make them fill in our survey, the EMBS students collected approximately 200 contacts per country, which could fit in this profile. Except from direct e- mailing, we also used e-mail groups and social networks to reach as many young people as possible. On 3rd of May 2010, the online questionnaire was sent out to all those contacts. During one week, the EMBS students kept sending reminders in order to ask people to participate to this project. Finally, on 12th of May, we received 1095 answers out of the approximately 1500 contacts gathered in the different countries. Then, we started to analyze the results of the survey, by using the Sphinx Survey software. The Sphinx Survey Software is professional statistic software which offers an easy all-in-one tool, which would support the students in developing, conducting and analyzing the survey. 1 The questionnaire could be found in appendix 3 View slide
  • 2.2 Adjustments In order to have more meaningful results which also correspond to the target, we decided, at the beginning of the project, that we had to make some corrections on the results we got. First of all, there were given answers which did not fit in the target group, concerning the age and the country. As we decided to focus on six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain and Turkey) and on people between 15 and 30 years old, we first deleted the answers from people coming from other countries than the determined ones and the answers from people over 30 years old. So regarding age, the variable named “30 and more” corresponds only to the people who are 30 years old. Secondly, we decided to deduct both systematic answers and the ones with extreme values that the Sphinx Software detected, in order to reach more clean and reliable results. Consequently, at the end of the data cleaning process, we only kept 892 answers which fit in our objectives and target group. Furthermore, since we got much more answers from Turkey, France and Germany than from the three other countries; we thought that the results did not represent the actual characteristics of each country. That is why we decided to weight the countries according to the size of their population. Nevertheless, we avoided to weight the data according to other characteristics of the countries (e.g. internet usage, age etc.) due to the concerns about data manipulation. Below, you can find the table of weighting for each country constituted by the previous figures and the new adjustments. 2.3 Profile of the Respondents After having made the necessary adjustments, we drew a profile of our final sample. Concerning the main characteristics of the respondents, due to the result of the survey, we can affirm that a big percentage of respondents is represented by young female students between 24 and 29 years old who declared that they are not in a relationship. Moreover, as we already mentioned in the adjustment part, most of the respondents are from Germany, France and Turkey. Concerning the Internet knowledge, a big number of the participants has an advance or good level. 4 View slide
  • 2.4 Limitations Lack of representativeness of the analysed sample: Answers of the respondents influenced by the fact that we sent out the questionnaire via e-mails and social networks. Due to the big difference in the number of answers collected for each of the six different countries. To address this problem: weighting of the sample according to the size of the population of each country. Most of the respondents are either students or workers; this means that we do not have a lot of information about the other types of occupations. Lack of representativeness of the answers regarding the most important social network Indeed, most of the respondents mentioned Facebook as the most important social network for them, so the major part of the answers given in the questionnaire refers to Facebook. Consequently, there is a lack of information about the other social networks. Chosen sample: people between 15 and 30 years old, which is a sample already targeted by the existing social networks. Difficulties to address recommendations for a brand new social network with a new concept as the information we gathered are consequently limited. An eventual missing question about the level of education of the respondents Could have generated interesting information 3 DATA ANALYSIS AND THE RESULTS 3.1 Behavior towards Social Networks In this section we will cross several questions in order to find different patterns and behaviors regarding the social networks users. This analysis will help us getting a deeper knowledge on how users act according to their different personal characteristics. Use / no use of social networks We will begin this study by analyzing the first question about the respondents’ use of social networks. This question will be successively crossed with others ones. Use / no use vs. countries Almost all the countries present a similar distribution, starting from 98% of use for the French respondents to 93% for the Spanish ones. The only country which does not present figures in accordance to the others is Romania with 85%. It could be assumed that this may be a result of the development of the Internet connection or maybe due to the popularity of social networks in Romania. 5
  • Use / no use vs. Marital Status There are no significant differences among the different marital status. The lowest percentage concerns the married users (91%). Then, we can assume that the use of social networks is a rather personal activity as, most of the time, after getting married the social life can be reduced. 2 Use / no use vs. Age There is a similar distribution across the different age ranges. In the “Less than 18 years old” range, there is a positive specificity, since 17% of them do not use social networks, which is significantly higher than the average. The rest of the age ranges present a use of social networks between 95% and 97%3 Various social networks After that, we analyzed the question about the different social networks that are used by the respondents. First of all, due to the huge number of options given in the questionnaire, we decided to remove the websites which seemed to be less important and we worked on a limited table including the six most important websites (Facebook, StudiVZ, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Tuenti). We can see that Facebook was the most mentioned social network in the six countries (90% of the users). Then, we found, on the one hand, more specific international websites such as Twitter and MySpace and, on the other hand, national ones such as StudiVZ (German social network) and Tuenti (Spanish one). 4 Social networks vs. Countries Thanks to this study, we can see how Facebook is well-known across the different countries; Facebook is less representative in Germany (negative specificity) as StudiVZ seems to be the most used social network in that country (positive specificity). We can also see that the national websites such as StudiVZ and Tuenti have no real success out of their home countries. Moreover, it is also interesting to highlight the presence of LinkedIn (professional social network) and Twitter in Turkey. 2 Please see the “Use/No use X Marital Status” graph in the appendix 3 Please see the “Use/No use X Marital status” graph in the appendix 4 Please see the “ Used SN” graph in the appendix 6
  • Most important social networks In this question, users can select more than one option so we do not know what the distribution of this usage is. To avoid that, we will focus on a question regarding the mainly used social networks. Main social networks vs. Countries Facebook is the mainly used social network in all the countries except in those which have a well developed national social network such as Germany with StudiVZ (57% of the German users prefer using it instead of Facebook). As we previously said, Turkey is the country in which Twitter (7%) and LinkedIn (7%) are among the most popular SNs. Main social networks vs. Age Facebook is the mainly used social network within all the age ranges (69% of those between 24 to 26 and 86% of the ones under 18 and from 18 to 20). We can see that LinkedIn presents higher percentages in the age range in which people tend to finish their studies and are looking for a job (people from 24 to 26 (2%) and from 27 to 29 (7%).5 Main social networks vs. Occupation As the target of our survey is people between 15 and 30 years old, most of them are students. It is interesting to highlight the fact that the most important social network for workers is LinkedIn (69%) but not for those who are looking for a job (11%).6 5 Please see the “Most important SN X Age” graph in the appendix 6 Please see the “Most important SN X Occupation” graph in the appendix 7
  • Main social networks vs. Marital Status Most of the respondents are either single people (55%) or people in a relationship (41%). Among the different social networks, Tuenti is the one which gathers the highest percentage of single people (64%) and LinkedIn presents the highest percentage of married people (15%) as it is mainly used by professional (oldest age ranges). 7 Main social networks vs. Level of Internet Everybody has, at least, an intermediate level of Internet and most of the people consider they have an advanced (38%) or a good level (35%). It is interesting to stress that the highest percentage of expert users is found within LinkedIn users (40%), the reason is probably that LinkedIn is a professional social network.8 After analyzing the main social networks used by the respondents, we can say that social networks are mainly considered as a social activity and try to reach as many users as possible. Reasons for not using social networks As far as the very first question is concerned, those who answered that they do not use social networks had to answer to another question in order for us to understand the reasons of their reluctance. Reasons for not using social networks vs. Age The respondents who are not found of social networks, all have different reasons for not using them. Regarding the age, we can see that people who rarely use the Internet have less than 18 years old. This is maybe due to the fact that, as they are young, they are not allowed to freely use the Internet. A lot of other reasons such as the lack of interest, time or privacy, are mainly given by people aged between 24 and 26. Those who find them useless mainly have between 21 and 23 years old. Reasons for not using social networks vs. Occupations According to their occupation, people can have different reasons for not using social networks. All of those who use the Internet in a seldom way seem to be either studying or going to school (linked to the fact that they have less than 18 years old).9 7 Please see the “Main SN X Marital Status” graph in the appendix 8 Please see the “Main SNs X Level of internet” graph in the appendix 9 Please see “Reasons for not using social networks” graph in the appendix 8
  • Reasons for not using social networks vs. countries In the above-presented graph, we chose to analyze the different reasons why people do not use social networks according to the country in which they live. Those who are not interested in social networks are mostly represented by Romanian people because this practice is not really popular in Romania. The people who mainly answered that they do not have time and that they think social networks are of no use are mainly Turkish. German respondents are the ones who mostly answered they do not want to develop virtual relationships. Eventually, approximately 70% of the persons who almost do not use Internet are Italian. Level of Internet Level of Internet vs. Countries In this graph, we wanted to get a deeper knowledge on the level of Internet of the participants in the six different countries. The general trend is that, in all the analyzed countries, the respondents have a quite high level of Internet. Indeed, in France, Italy and Romania, there are mostly people with a good level of Internet. In Germany and in Turkey, people described themselves as users with an advanced level. Spanish respondents have a good to advanced level of Internet. We have to highlight that none of the respondents seem to have a low command of the Internet. 9
  • 3.2 Intermediate Summary for behavior towards social networks Considering the countries, Romanian people tend to use SNs less than the other countries. It could be due to Internet connection issues or maybe to the fact that SNs are not so popular in Romania. Facebook is the most extended and popular SN in the world. Except from Facebook there are several SNs used commonly but most of them are national ones (e.g. StudiVZ for Germany and Tuenti for Spain) or specialized on particular target groups (e.g. LinkedIn for professionals). People under 18 years old who are not using social networks mainly said that it is because they rarely use the Internet; maybe because they cannot use it freely. In the six different countries, the major part of the respondents has a high Internet knowledge. 3.3 Habits of users towards the most important social networks In the second part of our survey, we aimed at going a little bit further into details on the online social networks that the respondents mostly use. Frequency of use Now, we will analyze the frequency of access to social networks. We can see that, most of users answered that they log into their main social network several times a day (62%) or once a day (20%). So, we can consider that most of the users are enthusiastic or even addicted users. Frequency vs. Countries Romanian users (35%) log in less often than the users from the other countries, maybe because they cannot access Internet as easily as the other ones. The case of Germany is interesting since they have a very well developed Internet system. 49% of them answered that they access social networks several times a day.10 Frequency vs. Occupation People who are working (51% “Several times a day”) log into social networks less often than people who are studying (66% “Several times a day”). This may be because workers have less free time after working.11 Frequency vs. Main social networks Social networks for social activities such as Facebook (69% in “Several times a day”) and Tuenti (85% in “Several times a day”) are more often visited by their users than specific or professional social networks like StudiVZ (38% in “Several times a day”) or LinkedIn ( 36% in “Several times a day”).12 The frequency of connection to social networks may be related to the possibility users have to access Internet and also to the kind of social networks or to the reasons why they use them. 10 Please see the “Frequence of use X Countries” graph in the appendix 11 Please see the “Frequency of use X Occupation” graph in the appendix 12 Please see the “Frequency of use X Main social networks” graph in the appendix 10
  • Number of contacts As we take the number of contacts into account, we see that there are no significant differences concerning all the demographics of the respondents. Most of the respondents have around 101 -250 (by 41 %) and 251 - 500 (by 25%) contacts.13 Number of contacts vs. Age There is one demographic factor which should be taken into consideration and shows different trends: age groups. Compared with the other age groups, there is a big tendency to have more contacts (between 250 and 500) among the people in age up to 20. When we combine this result with the motivations to use the social networks part of the survey, we see that the respondents younger than 18 are dominantly using the social networks to make new friends.14 Location to access We also wanted to analyze the places where the respondents mostly connect to social networks. Results showed us most of respondents connect firstly from their home, then from their place of study and work place. The second place of access is the place of study, due to the fact that, most of respondents are students. Indeed, many high schools and universities currently provide an Internet access to their students. Location to access vs. Country Moreover, when we analyzed the results for this question country by country, we saw that French, Italian, German and Spanish respondents access to social networks firstly from home and then from the place of study, while Turkish and Romanian people prefer to access firstly from home and then from their work place.15 Location to access vs. Occupation The location to access is also depending on the occupation of the respondents. Results show us that after the “home”, the respondents who have a job, mostly connect to social networks from their 13 Plase see the “Number of contacts” graph in the appendix 14 Please see the” Age X Motivation of making new friends” graph in the appendix 15 Please see the “Locations to access X Country” graph in the appendix 11
  • workplace while students (mostly between 18 and 23 years old - university students) access from place of study.16 Motivation to use the social networks Another goal we try to figure out in this section was the motivations of using the social networks. In general, social networks are used mostly for personal reasons, 83% of our respondents expressed that they are using the social networks for personal motivations. Since nearly 3% of respondents answered that they use them for professional motivations, we might suppose that the social networks, which have professional concept, are still not so popular among the young people. Moreover only 15% of respondents said that they use the social networks for both personal and professional reasons. Motivations to use vs. social networks used When we take into consideration the top 6 social networks which are commonly used, we see that the respondents tend to use social networks such as Facebook,StudiVZ,Tuenti mostly for personal motivations. Moreover social networks like LinkedIN, which is a totally professional one, and Twitter are used for professional motivations. Motivations to use vs. Important social networks The difference between personal and professional motivations is even bigger when we look at the results of the most important social networks. Hence, we can say that people who use social networks are aware of the concept and use them consciously. Motivation to use vs. Age There is no big difference about motivations of use concerning the age, the respondents pointed out that they use social networks mostly with personal motivations. But, as we already mentioned in the first section (“Main social networks vs. Age”), the social networks with professional perspective are 16 Please see the “Locations to access X Occupation” graph in the appendix 12
  • mostly used by young people aged between 24 and 29; so linked with this data, the proportion of professional use is bigger in these ages than other age ranges.17 Motivations to use vs. Occupation When we analyze the motivations together with occupation, there is not significant variance between the groups ( studying,working, working and studying, not working ) except for the increase of professional use in the groups of studying and/or working people.18 Motivations to use vs. Countries Concerning the countries, the percentage of people who answered that they are using the social networks with personal and professional motivations are significantly bigger in Romania (38%) and Turkey (32%) than in other countries. Type of users As far as users are regarded, most of the respondents answered that they are active when using social networks. It means that they use the provided contents as well as the applications quite a lot. Type of users vs. age Concerning the age, the most active users seem to be those under 18 years old and those aged 30. The reason could partly be that, all the new ways of virtual communication are really famous among the youngest. The age range in which the most passive users can be found is the one composed by people between 24 to 26 years old. 17 Please see the “Age X Motivations” graph in the appendix 18 Please see the “Occupation X Motivation” in the appendix 13
  • Type of users vs. Level of Internet Now that we know that most of the respondents tend to be quite active when using social networks, we can compare these data with their level of Internet. We can easily notice that the use of social networks is directly linked to the competence of the users regarding Internet. Indeed, the higher their level of Internet, the more active they are. Type of users vs. Level of satisfaction Concerning the users, we found out that the way of using social networks is directly related to their level of satisfaction. Indeed, we can see that the more the respondents are satisfied by social networks, the more active they are when using them. For example, among the persons who gave a grade of 1 to the social network they regard as the most important, only about 33% are active. At the contrary, among the ones who gave 10 to the most important social network, 85% are active when using it. 3.4 Intermediate Summary for habits of users towards the most social networks The results show that most of the respondents access SNs several times a day. Furthermore, we can assume that people who often access SNs may have a better Internet connection and/or several ways of accessing the internet (e.g. Wi-Fi, Smart phones etc.). Students tend to access SNs more frequently than people who work. 14
  • Most of the respondents pointed out that they have 101-250 contacts in the social networks they use. On the other hand, young people under 20 tend to have even more contacts compared with other ages. Results show that a big percentage of respondents access social networks from their home. As a second place, they tend to access from place of study or work, depending on their occupation. Most of respondents are using the social networks for personal motivations. Plus, we see that social network users are conscious of the concept of the SN they use, since the professional motivations are increasing on the SNs which have professional concept such as LinkedIn (especially for the respondents who are working and have between 24 and 29). Most active users are found among those under 18 and the ones over 30. The higher the Internet knowledge of the users is, the more active they are. The higher the satisfaction of the users is, the more active they are when using social networks. 3.5 Shared contents and applications Shared contents As we would like to figure out the tendencies of young people concerning the online social networks, analyzing the shared contents was crucial. The results showed us that the most preferred contents to share are photos, and then it is successively followed by text, links, videos and music. Since the social networks are still not well-developed in music sharing, the percentage of music shared through the online social networks are still lower than other contents. 19 But on the other hand, the music sharing rate is increasing when the level of Internet knowledge increase.20 Concerning the age of the respondents, we could not see any significant difference between the shared contents, except from the increase on the percentage for the music shared by the people who are younger than 18. 21 Kind of used applications Used applications vs. Countries 19 You can find the opinions of respondents about music sharing in the last section called “What else?” 20 Please see the “Shared content X Level of Internet knowledge “ graph in the appendix 21 Please see the “Age X Shared content” graph in the appendix 15
  • As far as the applications are concerned, a cross-table was used to link them to the six different countries analyzed throughout this study. Here we can notice that, generally, in almost every country, the applications which are the most used by people are “private messages” and “photos”. The “chat” is also used a lot in most of the countries except for Turkish people who seem to use it a bit less than the other participants. We can assume that the latter prefer to use other programs such as Msn Messenger to chat. “Videos” and “music” are a bit less used by almost all the respondents than the other applications. However, Turkish people use “videos” a lot. This could be explained by the fact that, some of the video websites such as YouTube are forbidden in Turkey. We can also see that, the least used application in all the countries is “music”, apart for Turkey where it is used approximately as often as the “chat”. Used applications vs. Age The used applications can also vary according to the age of the users. “Private messages” is the application which is used the most often by all the different age ranges. Nevertheless, people under 18 years old use them slightly less than the other ones. The second mostly used application is “photos” and this can be applied to all the respondents, no matter their age. Then, we can see that the older the respondents, the less they use the “chat”. We can think that the eldest ones may not be really keen on virtual communication. “Games” and “Music” applications are mainly used by the youngest respondents and by the people aged 30. Used applications vs. Most important social networks 16
  • This analysis shows that the applications used vary widely depending on the social networks. As far as Facebook is concerned, the two mostly used applications are “private messages” and “photos”. The same trend can be noticed for Tuenti and Twitter. Concerning StudiVZ, “private messages” is, by far, the application the respondents most often use. Regarding LinkedIn, the situation is different. “Private messages” account for more than 50% of the used applications, and the other ones are not widely spread. This can be explained by the fact that LinkedIn is a social network used to build professional relationships; consequently, it is used for more serious reasons than the other ones. We can also see that MySpace is used a lot for “photos” and “videos”. One thing that has to be stressed is that, this social network is also used a lot for “music”, contrary to the other ones. This can be explained by the fact that it is the only one which offers this option. 3.6 Intermediate summary for shared contents and applications Considering the shared contents, photos and texts are the most popular ones. In addition to that, people would like to share more music through social networks. Mostly used applications in the different countries are “private messages” and “photos” without any difference among the age ranges. Turkish people do not use “chat” a lot as they may use other programs (e.g. Msn Messenger) and also they tend to use more the “videos” probably because websites such as YouTube are forbidden. The older the respondents, the less they use the “chat” As LinkedIn is a professional network, the mainly used applications is “private messages” while MySpace is mostly used for music, as it is one of the most popular social networks that offers this option. 3.7 Cluster Analysis In the following part, we will deal with the two cluster analyses we created about the opinions of the users on social networks and their motivations to use them. 3.7.1 Methodology To begin with, we decided to use the same method for the two different cluster analyses. First of all, we used a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) in order to manually define the number of segments we will use and their characteristics. We consequently used 9 variables for the clustering about the users’ opinions on social networks and 14 variables for the clustering linked with their motivations. They were both carried out in order to understand what people think about the existing social networks and the reasons why they use them. After having done a map by using the mentioned variables, we gave names to the axes of each clustering. Regarding the opinions, we called the horizontal axis “risky”. In this one the positive values represent the highest risks perceived and the negative values represented the lowest ones. The vertical axis was named “utility” as the positive values mean that users think that social networks have a high utility and the negative ones mean low utility to users. 22 22 Please see “Manual Clustering (Q15-Q23)” in the appendix. 17
  • The same process was conducted for the question of motivations; we called the horizontal axis “interest to use SN”. It means the responses in the positive part represent highest interest in social networks and the ones in negative part represent lowest interest in using social networks. Lastly, we named the vertical axis “personal motivations to use” which means that people in positive part, use SNs for mostly personal reasons while the respondents in the negative part use the SNs for mostly professional reasons. For the first cluster analysis, we came out with four interesting segments, and according to the variables they were referring to, we named them as: Enthusiastic, conscious, uninterested, and defensive. As far as the second clustering is concerned, we defined five segments which are: Sociable, curious, expressive, serious, and trend followers. After defining the clusters manually, we also used the automatic clustering made by the Sphinx software to compare their level of significance. Since we crossed both automatic and manual clusters with variables, we applied the Fisher test for both of them. The best option is the one which has an:  Inter-variance as high as possible (as heterogeneous as possible between the groups)  Intra-variance as low as possible (as homogeneous as possible within the groups) For the cluster which regards the opinions, as a result of F-test, we came out with a result of 1035.22 for the manual clustering while automatic one was 1463,12 . For the motivations cluster, as a result of F-test, we came out with a result of 1218.2 for the manual clustering while automatic one was 1407,95 . So in the end we figured out that it would be more significant and reliable to analyze the data with the help of the automatic classification. 3.7.2 Cluster Analysis for opinions toward social networks Thanks both to the PCA and the automatic classification, we managed to define four different segments to analyze:  Conscious users: high risk perceived and high utility  Defensive users: high risk perceived and low utility  Enthusiastic users: low risk perceived and high utility  Uninterested users: low risk perceived and low utility The results show that, regarding their opinion about social networks, most of the people are defensive users (32%); the second highest represented group is formed by the conscious users (29%). These two segments believe that social networks have potential risks; however, conscious users have a positive attitude towards the utility of these websites. On the other hand, defensive users have a negative opinion of social networks. The third group is formed by the enthusiastic users, who are eager to use social networks. They think that they are useful tools and do not perceive them as risky (privacy, security, fake dimension). This group represents one of the main targets of social networks. The less represented segment is composed by the uninterested users, who are quite passive in the sense that they neither see the utility of social networks nor their harmful side. Nevertheless, they do not have a critical opinion about social networks. 18
  • The most important segment for social networks is the one of the enthusiastic users since they already are using them in an extensive way without having a bad opinion of their risks. According to the conscious and defensive users, social networks need to be improved especially in security. Uninterested users represent the main challenge for social networks. Indeed, the websites would have to offer new contents and services in order to interest them more with the same or increased level of security. So we can consider this cluster as the main opportunity for the development of social networks as it is a group which is still unknown and unexploited.23 23 For more detailed cross analysis, please see the “Cluster analysis for opinions” part in the appendix 19
  • Clusters Opinion Activities Expectations Socio-demographics + - Contents: photos, texts - Increase security - Under 18 and more than 27 - Develop privacy - Workers and - Popular - Dangerous for Applications: private options Students/Workers - User friendly privacy messages, chat, videos - Italians, Spanish - Voyeuristic - Exhibitionistic Conscious Contents: photos, texts, links - Not remove the - From 21 to 26 already existing - Non workers and job - Popular - Time Applications: private applications seekers - Useful consuming messages, chat, games - Develop new - Germans, Romanians - Trendy - Voyeuristic applications - Danger for privacy Enthusiastic Contents: photos, links, text, - Develop new - From 18 to 23 videos applications and tools - Students, workers and non - Popular - Time - Increase security and workers - Trendy consuming Applications: private privacy - French, Turkish - Dangerous for messages, chat privacy - Voyeuristic Defensive n/a Contents: Photos, tests - Get their attention and - Less than 18 and people of interest 30 - Useful Applications: private - Develop new fields - Workers and job seekers - User friendly messages, chat - Germans, Turkish, Romanians Uninterested
  • 3.7.3 Cluster Analysis for motivations As a result of cluster analysis, we defined five main classes, which are: sociable people, expressive people, serious people, trend followers and curious people.24 Description of each group: Curious people: According to our analysis, “curious people” is the biggest class by 36%. In this class, the people, who want to know what is happening in others’ life, are represented. They use social networks mostly to find old friends and stay in contact with many people and get information about other people to stay updated about their lives. Sociable people: As it can be understood from the class name, they are people who would like to contact as much people as possible. Results showed us that sociable people are the ones who enjoy almost all ways of using social networks. Even if they give a big importance to networking, staying updated about others’ lives and having fun, they also would like to express themselves through social networks. Trend followers: After our analysis, we figured out that, there are people who register to social networks only because they do not want to get behind of new trends. They seem to be members of social networks; but in reality, they do not show any interest in using it. The trend followers are represented in overall classes by 17%. Serious people: This class includes the people who use the social networks for mostly professional motivations. In other words, professional users are eager to discover new contents and information. The main difference, comparing with other classes, is that besides personal motivations, they are using social networks also to promote an organization, a person or a group. They are presented by 14% in overall classes. Expressive people: This class forms the 5% of all respondents. The main motivations of “expressive” people are to share their ideas, feelings by expressing themselves through social networks and to communicate a positive image to the public. 24For more detailed cross analysis, please see the “Cluster Analysis for Motivations” graphs in the appendix 21
  • Clusters Motivations Age Occupation Country + - 25 - Find old friends, n/a Middle-aged to oldest - Studying and working - Stay updated -Find information about someone Sociable - Be in contact with many people, - Having fun - Stay updated - Discover new content Youngest to middle-aged - Looking for a job - Find old friends - Show what I like, my preferences - Studying/Going to school - Communicate a positive image Curious - Express my personality - Show what I like, my preferences -Stay updated Youngest - Not working - Express my personality - Find old friends - Looking for a job Expressive - For professional motives - Having fun Middle-aged - Not working - Promotion - Stay updated - Studying and working - Discover new content -Share feelings Serious - Dating n/a - Be in contact with many people Middle-aged to oldest - Not working - Find old friends - Having fun Trend followers - Stay updated 25 Youngest: 15 to 20; Middle-aged: 20 to 25; Oldest: 25 to 30
  • 3.8 Potential Improvements for social networks Lastly, we also would like to know the respondents’ opinion about what else can be improved or developed concerning social networks. As you can see on the right, the most important topics which should be improved are: security, privacy, chat option, and number of advertisements in the social network.26 Security & Privacy: They are the most important concerns about social networks for respondents. Most of the respondents mentioned that the social networks have security problems. Concerning the privacy issue, they complain about data tracking and storage which means that the social networks keep the information about them, even if they delete their accounts. Moreover, the respondents would like to have different confidentiality options for the contacts they have. So that they can define the level of “attainable” information about themselves for each contact or group. Improvement of chat: Since the chat is a relatively new option in the social networks, the respondents wish for some improvements on that option such as video conversation. They would like to use the social networks to communicate with each other as much as sharing photos, videos, etc. Less advertisement: This is one of the things which respondents mostly asked for. They pointed out that the social networks have too many advertisements and the number of advertisements should be reduced. Otherwise they suggest adding a blocking option for advertisements. Customization of profile and layout: Some of the respondents emphasized that the layout of the social networks is not satisfactory and even sometimes imitating each other. As young people would like to be different or express themselves through their profiles, they would like to customize their own layout or even to create new layouts. Other ideas: Some of the respondents mentioned that they receive too many sharings, so they would like to have an option to group these sharings. Better control (for harmful contents, fake profiles, etc.) and customer service Data storage option for files More music sharing and improvements of games 26 Please see the appendix for more detailed table 23
  • 4 MANAGERIAL SUMMARY Considering the countries, Romanian people tend to use SN less than the other countries. It could be due to the internet connection issues or maybe to the fact that social networks are not so popular in Romania. Facebook is the most extended and popular SN in the world. Except from Facebook there are several SNs used commonly. But most of them are national ones (e.g. StudiVZ for Germany and Tuenti for Spain) or specialized on particular target groups (e.g. LinkedIn for professionals). The results show that most of the respondents access to SN several times a day.Furthermore, we can assume that people who often access SNs may have a better internet connection and/or several ways of accessing the Internet (e.g. Wi-Fi, Smart phones etc.). Students tend to access SNs more frequently than people who work. Most of the respondents are using the social networks for personal motivations. Plus, we see that social network users are conscious about the concept of SN they use, since the professional motivations are increasing on the SNs which have professional concept such as LinkedIn (especially for the respondents who are working and have between 24 and 29). Considering the shared contents, photos and texts are the most popular ones. In addition to that people would like to share more music through social networks. Mostly used applications in the different countries are “private messages” and “photos” without any difference among the age ranges. Most active users are found among those under 18 and the ones over 30. The higher Internet knowledge of the users is the more active they are. The higher the satisfaction of the users is, the more active they are when using social networks. Concerning about necessary improvements, the participants highlighted 4 main ideas which are security, privacy, chat option, and number of advertisements in the social network. 24
  • 5 RECOMMENDATIONS The target group we chose to focus on when designing this prototype of social network is constituted by students and young workers between 20 and 35 years old who are curious, who like to try new things, and who are not reluctant to change. It would allow a good promotion and advertising through word-of-mouth. When designing a brand new social network, it is crucial to pay attention to the already existing social networks as well as to the potentially new competitors. Indeed, it is essential not to set up an already existing concept or to focus on a target group that is already well addressed by another social network. A good opportunity would be to create a social network devoted to the sociable, curious and expressive users. This one would be a combination of blogs and social networks such as Facebook. It would provide the users with the possibility to be in contact with many people, to find old friends and to express themselves through articles published on profiles. A good idea would also be to pay more attention to the countries in which social networks are the less popular, such as, for instance Romania. Indeed, it may be better to draw a social network with a national focus in order to better address their needs and expectations. A trap that the new social networks designers would have to avoid is not to create a copy of already existing websites such as Facebook. They have to offer a new concept, new ideas and new contents (sport, music, etc.) It is also important to get a deeper knowledge on country specificities and trends for having more chance and opportunity in this sector. Another suggestion is to set up a social network providing users with an all-in-one account gathering two different profiles (personal and professional). This new social network could also be a combination of Facebook and MySpace, that is to say a website allowing to find old friends, to be in contact with many persons and to share music with them. Even if most of the popular social networks have a chat option, it is newly developed. So some improvements or new features such as multi-chat (chatting with several persons in the same conversation) and video conference could create a great comparative advantage among the competitors. Since the young people ask for new and more applications to use in their social networks, well-developed and attractive applications especially in music sharing and games would help to improve the popularity of new social networks. As we mentioned in the report, the privacy and security are still big problems for social networks. Especially the security should be risen to the maximum level by controlling harmful contents, applications, etc. 25
  • Data tracking should be decreased since it is one of the common reasons for not using social networks or deleting their accounts. In addition to do that, a social network should always be ready to help their users immediately in case of problems in the website. Social network users would like to be “owner” of their accounts, which means that they should manage the settings. As balancing everybody’s demand about privacy settings at the same level is hard, there should be different levels for privacy settings which they could choose; or even, let them choose different confidentiality levels for different contacts would surely increase the satisfaction of users. One of the main financial sources of social networks is online advertisements. But the number of advertisements in the page should be carefully defined since it can sometimes deter people from using social networks. Even if we cannot discard this financial source, we can let users take the decision of receiving advertisements but, at the same time, we should provoke them to receive more ads with special offers and promotions. Concerning the sharings, the new social network should improve the quality of sharing and satisfaction by letting the users group them. Related to this topic, the users could be able to store data (video, music, presentations, word documents, spreadsheets etc.) in the social network. One golden opportunity for a new social network would be the customizable layout for their own profiles as the young people would like to be more expressive and different in every part of life. AN ALTERNATIVE IDEA FOR A NEW SOCIAL NETWORK According to some sources, an expanding target group for social networks is made of older generations especially for people between 40-50 years old, as they seem to be more and more interested in them. Consequently, working on this niche would be another alternative. 27 27 http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/04/13/social.network.older/index.html 26
  • 6 THE NEW SOCIAL NETWORK AND ITS’ DESIGN We decided to give our new social network the name of WorLd of mouth as we chose to direct it towards sociable, curious and expressive users. Indeed, this name directly refers to the expression “word-of-mouth” which is the passing of information from one person to another. Originally, this term only referred to oral communication (literally words from the mouth), but now includes any type of human communication, such as face- to-face, telephone, e-mail, and text messaging. The word “mouth” is also a symbolic representation of the expressive users whose aim is to talk about themselves and give their opinion. We replaced the term “word” by “worLd” in order to highlight the fact that this social network would allow people to be in contact with a lot of persons at a local, regional, national level or even worldwide. 27
  • 6.1 Front page of WorLd of Mouth 28
  • 6.2 Interface of WorLd of Mouth 29
  • 6.3 Home page of WorLd of Mouth for Social World s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s 30
  • 6.4 Profile page of WorLd of Mouth for Social World 31
  • 6.5 Home page of WorLd of Mouth for Professional World 32
  • 7 APPENDIX Questionnaire 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 7.1 Behavior towards Social Networks Use/No use of Social Networks 37
  • Various social networks 38
  • Main SN X Marital Status 39
  • Reasons for not using social networks 7.2 Habits of users towards the most social networks Frequency of use Frequency of use X Countries 40
  • Frequency of use X Occupation Frequency of use X Main social networks 41
  • Number of contacts Location to access Motivation to use the social network 42
  • 7.3 Shared contents and applications Shared content 43
  • 7.4 Cluster Analysis for opinions about Social Networks Manual Clustering Q15-Q23 Utility (+) SN: Widespread / Popular SN: User fr iendly SN: Trendy SN: Useful SN: Voyeuristic SN: Time consuming Risk (low) Conscious Risk (high) Ent husiastics SN: Exhibitionistic Uninterest ed Def ensives SN: Dangerous for privacy SN: Fake Utility (-) 44
  • Cross Analysis for Opinions Classes for Opinions vs. Countries We can identify several differences across countries. France has the largest percentage of defensive users (66%) and the second smallest percentage of uninterested users (7%). Germany has the most 45
  • regular distribution with a huge number of enthusiastic users (35%). Spain has the largest number of conscious users (57%) and the lowest number of uninterested ones (1%). Italy has the lowest number of defensive users (14%) and a quite big number of conscious users (47%). Uninterested users (23%) are mainly gathered in Romania, which could be a good opportunity to establish a new social network there. Furthermore, it is important to highlight that there are no conscious users in Romania. Turkey presents a low number of enthusiastic users (10%) since the defensive people are more dominant (37%) It could be interesting to focus on those countries which have either a large number of uninterested users (Romania, Germany or Turkey) or a small number of enthusiastic users (Turkey or Spain). Classes for Opinions vs. Age We must stress that the youngest users (under 18) have a very high percentage of uninterested users (44%) and the lowest number of enthusiastic users (5%). We can think that the younger users are either not concerned about social networks or do not think that the current social networks meet their needs and tastes. This point also offers a wide range of possibilities regarding new websites specialized for teenagers. Classes for Opinions vs. Main social networks As a result of survey, we could say that Facebook has a high level of defensive (39%) and conscious (30%) users. This may mean that Facebook is a mature website in which users begin to notice security issues about privacy or personal data protection. It is very interesting to see how LinkedIn has the largest number of uninterested users (78%). We can consider that this is because it is a professional social network so people use it just for professional motivations and not for social activities. Tuenti has the highest level of conscious users (53%). They are happy with the content that Tuenti offers but are concerned about the security and privacy (e.g. some problems occurred about security and privacy issues in Spain in the last months). The absence of enthusiastic or uninterested users means that this website is also mature in the Spanish market. Twitter has a high level of uninterested users (40%) so we can think that there are some services that could be improved. The low degree of defensive users (16%) means that they do not find security problems but a lack of utility: new services required. 46
  • StudiVZ has the largest number of enthusiastic users (37%). This is good in the sense that users are happy with the website and they would not change it for other one. 7.5 Cluster Analysis for Motivations 47
  • Cluster motivations vs. Age Cluster motivations vs. Occupation Cluster motivations vs. Countries 48
  • 7.6 Potential Improvements for social networks Automatic Classification vs. Opinions In this cross analysis, we would like to figure out opinions towards social networks for each class. As it’s seen in the table, we noticed 3 or 4 significant points for each, except from class of sociable people who shows almost all extreme values for every opinion. According to the class of expressive people, SNs are useful but at the same time they pointed out that they are most likely exhibitionistic, dangerous for privacy and time consuming. Thirdly, serious people, who would like to promote a brand, a company or a group, expressed that SNs are useful and user friendly; as a negative fact they think that SNs are exhibitionistic. The people who are in the trend followers’ class emphasize that SNs are useful& user friendly but still they have concerns about privacy. Lastly, curious people 49
  • pointed out SN are exhibitionistic & dangerous for privacy even if they would like to stay updated and to get information about others’ lives. Automatic Classification vs. Most important SN To cross- check our classifications, we also make analysis concerning most important SNs they use. The results we got were proving the characteristics of classes. For example, we noticed that curious people are mostly using SNs such as Facebook, Tuenti, StudiVZ; while serious people tend to use LinkedIn more which has a professional concept. Moreover, we could say that SNs like Twitter are used dominantly by expressive people. Concerning about trend followers, it could be seen that they have membership for almost all popular SNs, even if they do not show interest so much. 50