By Jaime Settle
As is the norm for academic research on novel technologies and phenomena, it seemed like we waited ages for quality research about Facebook using user-generated data instead of self-reported usage data. I was recently steered toward two sites that may be useful for staying informed about the latest trends and data analysis using Facebook:
Facebook Data Team, a group of researchers at Facebook who handle the collection, management, and analysis of Facebook data
Overstated, a blog by Cameron Marlow, an in-house researcher at Facebook whose research focuses on “various aspects of online communities including the diffusion of information across online social networks, access to information and social capital, and the incentives that impact social media production.”
These sites might generate interesting new ideas and reveal relevant trends that could improve our exploration of the effects of Facebook on political behavior and the transmission of political information. For example, it seems that there was a trend among Facebook users who supported the idea of health care reform to post a very specific status message this fall, leading to a sharp increase in the use of the word “health care” in status messages (much beyond the increase observed during the 2008 election.