Posts Tagged ‘Lou’

Study: Why Do People Use Facebook?

January 16th, 2012 01:00 admin View Comments

Facebook Logo_150x150.jpgFacebook is an accepted means of communication. It is a never-ending virtual social gathering filled with adopted puppies, cute LOL kitties, baby announcements, viral articles and videos, events, groups, organizations and fan pages. But why do people really use it?

A new study entitled “Why do people use Facebook?” from Boston University’s Ashwini Nadkarni and Stefan G. Hofmann proposes that the social network meets two primary human needs: (1) the need to belong and (2) the need for self-presentation. The study also acknowledges demographic and cultural factors as they relate to the belonging need, and the variation of personality types on Facebook usage.

The study defines social networking sites (SNSs) as “Internet-based services that give individuals three major capabilities: The ability to construct a public or semi-private profile, identify a list of other users with whom a connection is shared, and view and track connections made by individuals and others.

Who Is Using Facebook? A Breakdown by Demographics

Before 2009, MySpace led the social network race. By April 2009, it was dead. A 2008 study by Hargittai (“Whose space? Differences among users and non-users of social network sites,” in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 267-297) found that Hispanic students made up 25% of the MySpace population as compared to only 14% of Facebook users.

The demographics of Facebook are quite different. Women are more likely to use Facebook than men, and Hispanic students were less likely to use it than Caucasians (Hargittai, 2008; Hargittai & Hsieh, 2010a, “From dabblers to omnivores: A typology of social network site usage. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A networked self. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 146-168; Hargittai & Hsieh, 2010b, “Predictors and consequences of social network site usage,” in Information, Communication and Society, 13,, 515-536).

A study from 2009 (Grasmuck, Martin & Zhao, 2009, “Ethno-racial identity displays on Faacebook,” in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15, 158-188) found that African Americans, Latinos and Indian students displayed “greater intensity of cultural selves (marked by specific consumer and popular culture preferences) than the White students and Vietnamese ancestry students.”

This is in line with findings from the Facebook Data team, which shows the steady increase of black and Hispanic users in early 2009, and a decline of the number of Asian users. This data looked at surnames on Facebook with data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau to see percentages of racial minorities on Facebook.


What Types of People Use Facebook? A Cyberpsychology Approach

Previous studies have looked at the similarities between offline personality portrayal and online personality, proving strong connections between real personality and Facebook-related behavior. Extroverts report the most friends and highest engagement levels. People categorized as conscientious types – disciplined, organized and achievement-oriented – report the least Facebook use.

Facebook engagement results in a trail of virtual residue, including photos, videos, links, status updates and other traces of a virtual presence. A 2009 study (Ross et al., 2009, “Personality and motivations associated with Facebook use,” in Computers in Human Behavior, 25, 578-586) found that personality types that ranked high on neuroticism claimed the Facebook Wall as their favorite component. People who were low on neuroticism, however, said photos were their favorite. Another 2009 study (Orr et al., 2009, “The influence of shyness on the use of Facebook in an undergraduate sample,” in CyberPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 12, 337-340) found that while shy individuals had fewer friends on Facebook relative to nonshy people, the shy individuals spent more time on Facebook and liked the social network more overall.

A 2010 study (Buffardi and Campbell, “Narcissism and social networking web sites” in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1303-1314.) found a positive association between narcissism and Facebook use, especially in relation to profiles and photos, both features that allow users to promote themselves. The study found that people with a high level of narcissism and people with low levels of self-esteem spent more than an hour per day on Facebook.

The study summarizes the literature review, and comes to a few not-so-surprising conclusions about why people use Facebook.

Frequent FB users “exhibit a high level of extraversion, low self-esteem, high levels of neuroticism and narcissism, and low levels of self-esteem and self-worth are associated with high FB use.” The study goes on to note that frequent Facebook use may be associated with lower academic performance, but it may lead to higher self-esteem and a sense of belonging.

We All Want To Be A Part…Of Something: Facebook and the Dual-Factor Model

Everyone just wants to belong, right? In the online aspect of our lives, Facebook offers us that virtual sense of belonging. The study claims that Facebook meets two basic social needs: (1) the need to belong and (2) the need for self-presentation. Self-esteem and self-worth are associated closely with the first basic social need, to belong. Facebook use is, of course, also influenced by sociodemographic and cultural factors. Females and ethnic minorities tended to use Facebook more than males and Caucasians.

This last part of the study looked at Facebook use in individualistic versus, which emphasize individual achievements and success, versus collectivistic cultures, which focus on harmony within the group. In these cultures, individual gain is less important than the social group. The study hypothesizes that “members from individualistic cultures are more likely to share private information with their Facebook friends and more likely to raise potentially controversial topics as compared to Facebook users from collectivistic cultures.”

People in collectivist cultures are more likely to stay in troubled marriages and jobs than people in individualistic cultures (Diener, 2000, “Subjective well-being: The science of happiness, and a proposal for a national index,” in American Psychologist, 55, 34-43). As such, Facebook can serve as a support system for those people in collectivist cultures, who have frequent interactions and a close circle of Facebook friends.

Another study looked at the results of being exposed to information presented on one’s Facebook profile, suggesting that it can help enhance self-esteem. This proved especially true when a person edited information about the self (Gonzales & Hancock, 2010, “Mirror, Mirror on my Facebook wall: Effects of exposure to Facebook on self-esteem,” in Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking, 14, 79-83).

Can Facebook enhance self-esteem through offline friendships? A 2010 study (Lou, 2010, “Loneliness, friendship, and self-esteem: First-year college students’ experience of using facebook,” in Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 70, 7902) found that Facebook use intensity reduced perceived levels of loneliness, but FB’s improvement of a user’s social life did not improve the user’s self-esteem.

Other studies have found correlations between Facebook use and improvement of self-esteem. Yu and colleagues (Yu, A. Y., Tian, S. W., Vogel, D., & Kwok, R. C.-W. (2010), “Can learning be virtually boosted? An investigation of online social networking impacts,” in Computers and Education, 55, 1494-1503) collected surveys from college students majoring in business at an undergraduate school in China. Results showed that FB use benefited socialization and social learning outcomes, including higher levels of self-esteem. The findings in this study suggest that “the association between self-esteem and Facebook use is complex and possibly moderated by cultural and social factors.” In collectivistic culture such as China, Facebook use may enhance self esteem. Still, more research must be conducted.

What about Facebook use and social connection? Disconnection often times motivates Facebook use, and being connected rewards it according to a 2011 study by Sheldon, Abad & Hirsch (“A two-process view of facebook use and relatedness need-satisfaction: Disconnection drives use, and connection rewards it,” in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 766-775), the authors discovered that “frequent Facebook use correlated with feelings of general connection in life and also with feelings of general disconnection in life.” In yet another study, researchers found that “the correlation of disconnection with Facebook use was mediated by the tendency to cope with disconnection via Facebook.” In other words, Facebook became both the outlet for disconnection and the perpetuation of it.

Another study (Kim & Lee, 2011, “The Facebook paths to happiness: Effects of the number of Facebook friends and self-presentation on subjective well-being,” in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 6, 359-364) found that because Facebook lets users visualize social connections, it validated and enhanced users’ self-esteem.

The Bottom Line: Facebook Fulfills Our Need for Self-Presentation

Studies have found that on Facebook, the self you portray is not idealized – it is the real you. But a 2008 study by Zhao, Grasmuck & Martin (“Identity construction on Facebook: Digital empowerment in anchored relationships,” in Computers in Human Behavior, 24, 1816-1836) found that the Facebook selves appeared to be socially desirable identities that individuals aspired to have offline but do not have – yet. Furthermore, identities created on Facebook differed greatly from those constructed in anonymous online environments.

What about Facebook’s impact on impression formation? If you’re going on a date with someone you meet on OKCupid, for example, chances are you’ve friended them on Facebook to get a better idea of them. Recruiters are using Facebook to screen potential job applicants. An overabundance of friend connections actually produced doubts about FB users’ actual popularity (Tong et al., 2008, “Too much of a good thing? The relationship between number of friends and interpersonal impressions on Facebook” in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 531-549).

The study concludes this section with the idea that Facebook profiles reflect the users’ public persona, which appears to be “shaped by the need for self-presentation.” These types of needs guide the users’ behaviors, profile photo and number of friends, all of which make up one’s impression of the user.

So, Why Are We Really Using Facebook?

Facebook currently has 800 million users worldwide. According to the study, people use Facebook to fulfill two basic social needs: the need to belong and the need for self-presentation. Facebook use is also influenced by outside factors, such as cultural background, sociodemographic variables and personality traits.

These findings account for the oft-cited “shutting off Facebook for a period of time” social experiments that we tend to see floating about the Internet. In this “Facebook detox,” the user felt upset about the Facebook privacy settings, and a general sense of information overload. So, he “detoxed” for a period of 30 days.

A recent New York Times article entitled “The Facebook Resisters” sparked a similar controversy stemming from concerns about privacy, alienation and a feeling of information overload. Friends of mine have often times referred to Facebook as a “black hole.”

Mashable writer Sam Laird conducted a similar experiment. He deactivated his account in July 2011; five months later he wrote about it in “My Life Without Facebook: A Social Experiment.” While he did find that he no longer had the “should I post this to Facebook?” question lingering in the back of his mind all the time, and he spent less time in front of the computer overall, there was one thing he missed.

He missed those “funny Facebook photos from parties or nights out come up when hanging out with friends.” Laird wrote that he found himself “playing catch-up when someone brings up an article someone else shared on Facebook.”

He misses what most every Facebook user would miss if they shut down their account: that sense of belonging and of self-presentation. These are the reasons people use Facebook, despite its long list of privacy issues.

Source: Study: Why Do People Use Facebook?

Facebook Announces 2nd Annual Hacker Cup

January 4th, 2012 01:15 admin View Comments

Facebook Logo_150x150.jpgToday Facebook announced open registration for its second annual Hacker Cup, a competition for the best hacker.

Programmers from around the world will race to accurately solve algorithmic problems, advancing through five rounds of challenges. The winners will walk away with prizes. Only one programmer will take home the title of world champion and the Hacker Cup trophy.

The competition commences with a 72-hour online-only qualification round that starts on January 20, 2012 at 4pm PT. If a developer advances, he or she will move onto three more online rounds. The most grueling round is the first one, which will last 24 hours straight, beginning at 10am on January 28. Only the top 500 competitors will move on to round two, which lasts from 1-4pm PT on February 4. A total of 100 competitors will advance to round three, which lasts from 1-4pm PT on February 11.

The top 25 competitors who advance will receive an email. Facebook will fly them out to Menlo Park, California for the last round on March 17, 2012. Facebook promises to reimburse the finalist for a visa application fee and up to $100 USD if it was incurred while obtaining the visa. Facebook does not reimburse for passport-related expenses. Finalists will all receive cash and other prizes, but only one will win the Hacker Cup trophy. Here’s last year’s trophy.


Facebook held its first-ever Hacker Cup in 2011. First place went to Russian Coder Petr Mitrichev, who also won the Google Code Jam in 2006. Second-place when to Anh Tuan Mitrichev. The third place winner was Tiancheng Lou, a third-year PhD student whose research is focused in combinatorial algorithm design.

Developers, will you register for the 2012 Hacker Cup?

Source: Facebook Announces 2nd Annual Hacker Cup

Essex Police Arrest Man Over Blackberry Water Fight Plan

August 15th, 2011 08:19 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Under the banner headline ‘Police reassure residents they are working to keep county safe,’ Essex police proudly proclaimed that they arrested a 20-year-old man from Colchester who ‘allegedly sent messages from a Blackberry encouraging people to join in a water fight.’ Having also made a number of arrests of people sitting at home on Facebook, Acting Assistant Chief Constable Mason wrote: ‘Police will continue to monitor social networking sites for unlawful activity.’” That’s some good police work there, Lou.

Source: Essex Police Arrest Man Over Blackberry Water Fight Plan

Speaking of… Social Venues with Nic Adler of The Roxy [TCTV]

January 20th, 2011 01:04 admin View Comments

We read a lot of news about amazing companies when they receive financing, have a change in leadership or launch new products, but we rarely get a glimpse into the companies and people that use those products and tools in incredibly meaningful ways. This week’s Speaking Of… is with Roxy owner Nic Alder, son of Lou Adler who’s famous for producing bands/acts such as Cheech and Chong, The Mamas and the Papas and films such as Up In Smoke and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Lou Adler is also the creator of the Roxy nightclub that Nic now runs and operates.

The Roxy is a 37 year old international brand that was born the same year as Nic and has been the destination for legendary bands through the decades. Nic grew up around musical legends such as Bob Marley, Guns and Roses, etc. and when he took over the club, he had a very different vision for how it should operate. Lou ran a very successful club using traditional promotional tools, but the club was eventually displaced by bigger and hotter venues in different parts of Hollywood and deeply impacted by the move of consumers searching for how to spend their time using Internet tools and ditching old media.

Even though Nic’s father was a naysayer and didn’t approve of Nic’s new ways of operating the business, Nic forged ahead and eventually his father came around once he saw the results. There’s no denying that Nic was correct in changing everything, because if it wasn’t for social media, the Roxy would no longer exist.

Now, I hate the word social media and really, the word social, because it is so overused. When I hear someone say they are a social media “expert”, I vomit in my mouth a little. However, The Roxy is a strong example of how focusing on making your venue/business social really can work and is absolutely necessary in order to be relevant in today’s fast moving world. Nic says that social media, to him, is a mirror of how your business is performing. It isn’t all about reaching out. He’s learned more about his business through real time interaction than he ever could have before. He places so much importance on this as part of his business that he’s hired Kyra Reed, co-founder of Markyr Media, and several other team members who’s sole job is to interact and build meaningful relationships with fans + customers.

Nic’s openness for embracing new widgets, applications and tools actually shocked me. He’ll throw anything against the wall to see if it sticks and he’s hoping more and more startups develop tools that he can put to use in the club. Nic is also thinking about coming to the Bay Area to host a Roxy Presents event where he brings in an awesome band and listens to startups pitch him on ideas. The top idea that wins would get a chance to be featured in his club. If this interests you, please let us know in the comments and we’ll pass it along.

The Roxy was the first venue of its type to use Groupon and they were pretty excited with the results, but experienced some backlash from some of the music community when they did it, but his experiments turned out to be a huge success, drawing in more customers and ultimately benefiting the bands. The venue has almost 140k fans on Facebook and 53k fans on Twitter (the most fans/followers for a venue of their kind online). This is a small number for a famous person or a big brand, but for a venue this is an astronomical number, especially when you consider the club’s capacity is 500 people.

This fan base they were able to build isn’t just local. It’s global and it caught the attention of Facebook. They published a case study this week to show how effective their ad campaigns have been. The community they have built has absolutely changed how they do business and most importantly, has made them profitable and sustainable once again.

I went down to LA to get a tour of the Roxy and was invited on a journey through what they call the “Social Strip”, which is a group of businesses that have banded together in order to help one another. You might think, “ahh, well, isn’t that nice?!”, well, it is, but business traditionally wasn’t done that way. The businesses on the Sunset Strip saw themselves as competition and refused to work with one another. What changed? Well, Twitter changed them.

The Roxy was the first to come online and they did one simple act that changed the history of entertainment venues on the Sunset Strip. They said hello and welcomed a fellow club when they started their Twitter account and gave them a shout out and a retweet. They started being social online with their neighbors. Eventually, they all met in person and shared their financial woes and banded together to help one another. Businesses in the Sunset Strip coalition include the world renowned 200 person venue The Viper Room, The Comedy Store and House of Blues and they are adding new businesses every month. When one venue is closed, they cross-promote the other venue and so on, which ultimately increases the happiness of their shared customer base.

The Sunset Strip almost died, but now people travel across town to experience a night of fun at these venues and we have Nic Adler’s determination and faith in Twitter, Facebook, Groupon and Topspin to thank. He put 3 years of continuous effort into using these tools, even when early signs didn’t pay off and eventually reached a tipping point that saved his business. Pretty cool and I think you’ll enjoy the interview with Nic Adler and Kyra Reed below:

Source: Speaking of… Social Venues with Nic Adler of The Roxy [TCTV]

Pizza Superiority Determined In Massive Geek Eating Binge

December 19th, 2010 12:04 admin View Comments

Lots of people argue about which place has the best pizza. But only a geek’s geek would get so obsessed that they spend a whole weekend determining as scientifically as possible exactly who’s right and who’s wrong.

Enter David Shamma, a research scientist and Chicago style pizza snob. He argued with former Yahoo product guru Daniel Raffel about which Chicago joint had the best pizza.

They failed to find common ground. So (of course) they asked a scientist and cognitive psychologist specializing in human-computer interaction to create and conduct an experiment to settle things.

They dragged a dozen more people into the experiment (“entrepreneurs, product managers, engineers, scientists, designers, a pizzaiolo, a librarian and a lawyer”) got to work:

On December 12th, we gathered our 12 testers in total. Entrepreneurs, product managers, engineers, scientists, designers, a pizzaiolo, a librarian and a lawyer rounded out our collection of people from around the bay area; half of these testers identified themselves as those who prefer New York pizza over Chicago. Three cheese Chicago-style pizzas were brought in locally from: Little Star, Patxi’s, and Zachary’s. The 2 shipped frozen and reheated from Chicago were Lou’s and Gino’s. All these pizzas were of Chicago Deep Dish style—not the “stuffed†variety. Dr. Churchill, who was not taking the test herself, designed a ‘pizza score card’ to measure peoples judgement on each pizza on a 1-5 scale: Appearance, Smell, Texture, Taste, Finish, and Overall-loving-feeling. Each pizza was presented unbranded on a standard pizza board labeled only with a number. Each taster drew numbers from a hat to determine the order in which they tasted pizzas. This helps to control the error of the pizzas getting cold as they sat out.

Which pizza won? Who cares? New York style pizza is superior in every way to the Chicago slop they tested. But it’s absolutely hilarious to see how obsessed these guys get over pizza.

Nerds! I love em. Read the whole story here.

Photo Credit.

Source: Pizza Superiority Determined In Massive Geek Eating Binge