Summary: Information Sharing On Social Media Sites

SP16: INFO-200 Sec 10 – Inf. Comm – Blog Post #4

The article “Information Sharing on Social Media Sites” in Computers In Human Behavior is a study of how different types of information are shared and how social media users judge credibility of social media sites.

The author, Babajide Osatuyi, is a social media researcher and Associate Professor of Computer Information Science at the University of Texas-Pan American. He has a PhD in Information Systems. He has written several other papers on social media and other information science topics.

How information is presented on different social media sites and how the type of information differs depending on which site it is posted to. The study looks into five different social media technologies. The intended goal for the results of the study are for organizations and individuals have a better understanding of how social media users seek and respond to various types of information presented. What type of content works on which platforms is useful in determining how to share. The credibility of the information presented will have an effect on how the information is consumed.

The study was administered via an online survey and included questions about 4 types of information across 5 different social media technologies. The 4 types of information were: personal, sensational, political and casual information. The social networking sites were: microblogging sites, wikis, forums, and blogs. The 114 participants were college students at a northeastern technical university. The gender skewed male, 79.8% of survey respondents were male, and 20.2% were female. This corresponds to the demographics of other engineering school populations. Data was collected over 3 months. Data was coded and analyzed to see where patterns, variations, and preferences emerged.

This study provides and analysis on how information producers share various types of information. It reviewed how credibility was determined for different content types based on several clues. Credibility was determined by how the information was presented: link to other sources, topic on interest, embedded video, and embedded audio. The most important factor in determining credibility across all sites was the topic of interest, followed by links to other sources. There was a consistent difference between how information was shared on social networking sites compared to wikis, forums, and blogs. The results show that the average user posts topics of interest and embedded video to indicate credibility on social networking sites. On wikis, forums, and blogs the information is more text based though users embed audio or video to attract interest to the information.

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Thinking about how social media users gather information from both social networking sites and other internet sources is helpful in learning about the Instagram community. Much of the information presented on Instagram itself is personal of nature but can also be sensational, political, or casual. The way that social media users contribute and consume from wikis, forums, and blogs is also helpful for how Instagram users might find information about their topic of interest. The gender ratio of this study is skewed male, and was contained to college aged students at a technical college. I might look for other sources that include a more diverse demographic that included a more balanced survey of males and females, other age ranges, and people who might not be in a technical education setting.

References

Osatuyi, B. (2013). Information sharing on social media sites. Computers In Human Behavior, 29(6), 2622-2631. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.07.001

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