Last week I noted how Hofstra University graduate students had completed their master’s degrees in public relations by submitting various capstone projects filled with revealing research and insights. As promised, I’m featuring the best of them here.
First up is Putting the “Social” in Social Media: How human connection triggers engagement, authored by Stephanie Adomavicius. Stephanie wanted to “uncover what causes people to engage on social media, and identify the characteristics that make a photo and a video interesting.” Her research looked for the reasons people are compelled to share or click on certain content.
In addition to reviewing previous studies, Stephanie surveyed 110 college-educated men and women between ages 24 and 70 from the tri-state area to find her own answers. “Overwhelmingly,” she found, “83 percent of participants said the primary reason they joined social media was to interact and keep in touch with friends and family members, while only four percent said to follow news/trends or to receive recommendations (about a restaurant, book movie, hotel, etc.). The majority are either neutral or somewhat unlikely to share, like, or comment on a photo posted by an organization, yet 52 percent said they are very likely to share, like or comment on a photo that contains a friend or family member. Forty-one percent said they are very likely to share, like or comment on a video that contains a friend or family member.”
Drawing from the survey, published articles and interviews with social media professionals, Stephanie concluded: “Activities to do with friends is the most popular type of content to post about, while the number one influencer of social media engagement is the status of a friend or family member. Furthermore, the factor that makes both a photo and a video the most interesting and intriguing is people in it who you know.”
While this capstone project’s results may not be too surprising, it’s important that such studies are done to either confirm, rebuke or provide new facts and observations regarding what we think we already know. Through their research, these graduates’ work adds to our understanding of how we communicate. Your thoughts?