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Presentatie EAM2014, Using Facebook for an online panel, an explorative study.


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The growing popularity and use of Facebook makes it an interesting source for data. Every day, Facebook users write several posts and messages that contain information about their daily life. Researchers already use the data from social network sites as, for example, exit polls or information on the spread of an infectious disease . These data can be considered as non-reactive data, since the Facebook users did not write down he information for the purpose that the researcher used it for. However, we are interested in how Facebook could be used to collect reactive information; in other words, how can we use Facebook to create an online panel and what are the characteristics of such a panel?

We performed an explorative study in a probability based online panel in the Netherlands on the use of social media, with a focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The first results show that Facebook is the most popular social network and that the majority of users visits Facebook on a daily basis. Young people in particular are very active on social media, which offers scope for using Facebook as a way to attract this hard-to-reach group of potential respondents.

In addition, we developed a prototype of a technical panel infrastructure. This panel infrastructure uses Facebook to communicate with (potential) respondents. People can invite each other to become a member, post interesting studies on their pages, get invitations for new questionnaires, and keep track of which questionnaires have been completed. With this infrastructure we transform Facebook into a panel management system without leaking information to social network sites.

The next steps will be to find strategies to attract respondents to our infrastructure, and to investigate the consequences on the data quality. Technically, a lot is possible, but what will practice tell us?

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Presentatie EAM2014, Using Facebook for an online panel, an explorative study.

  1. 1. 24 July 2014 Using Facebook for an online panel? An explorative study Arnaud Wijnant & Salima Douhou July 24, 2014 VI European Congress of Methodology Utrecht University The Netherlands
  2. 2. Our world as an online data collection institute. 7/24/2014 3
  3. 3. CentERdata (Tilburg University) - Two representative web panels: - LISS panel - 5000 households - Every month a set of questionnaires - CentERpanel - 2000 households - Every week a set of questionnaires - Both panels are representative for the Dutch population (providing pc’s and internet connections) - Panel management includes a helpdesk 7/24/2014 4
  4. 4. What happens outside our world? 7/24/2014 5
  5. 5. 7/24/2014 6 Social networks 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 Number of Facebook users number of users (million)
  6. 6. Social Media top 5 7/24/2014 7 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Skype LinkedIn YouTube WhatsApp Facebook
  7. 7. Frequency of Facebook use 7/24/2014 8 64% 18% 8% 10% daily 2-4 times a week once a week less than once a week
  8. 8. Basic user profile • FB is a very popular and very frequently visited social media • In addition, FB is a social media mainly used for private purposes, unlike LinkedIn which is more related to professional life. • The majority trusts social media sites such as FB, Twitter and LinkedIn and are careful with sharing too much personal information via social media. 7/24/2014 9
  9. 9. Social networks in the research world. Many non-reactive/big data analyses 7/24/2014 10
  10. 10. How can we use social networks in our panels? 7/24/2014 11
  11. 11. Online panel 7/24/2014 12 vs Facebook Respondent Website to log in Invitation Helpdesk Facebook user Notification FB Messages Incentives Social Incentives
  12. 12. The advantages - Potential new sample - People maintain their data - Use of large infrastructure (security, mobile, availability) - Combine with other Facebook data 7/24/2014 13
  13. 13. The disadvantages - Huge sample bias - Privacy concerns for respondents - Future of social network site 7/24/2014 14
  14. 14. How does it look in practice? 7/24/2014 15
  15. 15. The panel is an app 7/24/2014 16
  16. 16. Respondents’ main screen 7/24/2014 17 Complete questionnaire Publish on respondent’s wall Invite other friends for the panel
  17. 17. Recommend interesting questionnaire to friends 7/24/2014 18
  18. 18. Invite friends 7/24/2014 19
  19. 19. Complete questionnaire within Facebook 7/24/2014 20
  20. 20. New invitation 7/24/2014 21
  21. 21. New invitation (2) 7/24/2014 22
  22. 22. The future - Extensive Social Network profile analysis - Recruitment strategies - Pilot studies 7/24/2014 23
  23. 23. Questions? Twitter: @centerdata 7/24/2014 24