October 2, 2009

Social Media Research Center: First studies completed

Last year my colleague Sjoerd de Vries from the faculty of Behavioural Sciences of our University invited me to participate as member of the scientific committee in a new research initiative, the Social Media Research Center (SOMERE)*. SOMERE is a junior research center designed in order to serve the interests of researchers and businesses interested in Social Media: about 20 MSc students from my faculty and the faculty of Behavioural Sciences work on research assignments offered by businesses and staff exploring the effects and importance of Social Media in the areas of marketing, education, healthcare, governance and entertainment.
One of the first assignments that was completed was the study by the MSc student Eze Ezekiel Onyebuchi called "MAKING SENSE OF WEB 2.0 TECHNOLOGY: DO EUROPEAN STUDENTS USE THE SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATIONAL GOALS?" Ezekiel made a comparison between Dutch and UK students in the way they use the SM for education and networking purposes. There are several similarities and some interesting differences here;
For example the most popular SM applications of UK students for educational purposes are Webcasts (99%), Social Networking (52%), Instant Messaging (42%) and YouTube(41%). Dutch students prefer to contribute and read Wikis (38%),  YouTube(35%), Instant Messaging (25%) and Social Networking (24%).

Regarding the use of social networking sites students in both countries use them mainly in order to stay in touch with friends (UK 70,8% and NL 79,4%). In both countries students are also using these sites for finding out information about people (in both countries around 44% of the students). An interesting difference in the number of students using them in order to make new friends (UK 42,5%, Nl 15,4%) and for finding a date (UK 38,9%, NL 5,1%). These last findings are interesting indeed, it looks that in the UK the social networking websites are used much more than in Holland for making personal contacts or relationships.
The study is available in the SOMERE web site under DOCUMENTATIE; it is also available at request to me.  More interesting results will follow in the future about our research activities in SOMERE (* the site is only in Dutch at the moment).