A couple of weeks ago, I started collecting a new dataset and I’m really excited about it because it’s the first time I’m collecting data from the mother-of-all social media sites: Facebook.
I’ve begun by capturing links posted to social media sites from 10 extremely popular news outlets. Some of the top blogs, both mainstream and geeky, as well as a handful of the most web-enabled newspapers of record. Then I’m counting the number of times those links are shared on Facebook (in three different ways) and on Twitter (through good old ReTweets). I then find the average number of “shares” for links posted to each site and compare the individual stories to the average in percent form and then combine those numbers to get a percent “effect” as a positive or negative number away from the average.
At this point I’ve got well over a thousand links and counting with full information stored. I’m also getting better at retrieving the data I want faster and more reliably.
I’ve already got a bunch awesome of things to show you, so keep your eyes out for more, but first lets talk about “meta mentions.” A meta mention is when someone on a given site, say Facebook talks about Facebook, or when someone Tweets about Twitter. Typically with ReTweet data I’ve seen that talking about Twitter gets you a lot of ReTweets, and this is to be expected since most people on Twitter are into talking about Twitter. Of course with older technologies like email, people aren’t really “into” email so much as they just use it to get stuff done.
So far my data shows that while articles that use the word “Facebook” in their title get shared more often than the average story on both Facebook and Twitter, stories that mention “Twitter” actually get shared less on Facebook. My assumption here is that Facebook is less of the early adopter crowd that wants to sit around all day and talk about Twitter, while Twitter users are more likely to be social media geeks.
The key takeaway is to know your audience. If you want to go viral on Facebook, don’t talk about Twitter.
And since I’m just starting to get into Facebook data like this, what kind of stuff would you guys like to see?