My social experiment

I decided to run a little experiment on the main three social networks I have a major presence on over the last couple of days. It involved a good piece of news that I hoped would inspire a lot of people to comment; especially when others also comment, pushing it to the top of the 'hot' lists.


I received an email granting me the Australian visa I applied for in July 2012. This means all restrictions imposed on me by the previous visa (travel and work) were lifted and I have indefinite leave to remain in the country. Something I believe is referred to as temporary residency. It looks like I have around two years to wait for permanent residency but it's all just part of the process and I'm glad it's all proceeding.

After posting exactly the same message on all the social networks I tracked responses and compared them to the audience reached in an effort to determine where my most active 'friends' reside. A minor caveat being that some people overlap social networks so could have, but would not necessarily want to have, commented in more than one network. I'd like to do some further graphs showing which people share networks, perhaps a Venn diagram?

The following google chart is a nice way of viewing the data collected. Although facebook appears to be the leader in terms of percentage respondents, and indeed is (5.71% compared to 4.44% from G+), it should be noted that 66% of facebook respondents are also in my Google+ circles. Perhaps then, it is the case that friends with high sharing/posting tendencies do so on whichever social network they use most, see the post on first or perhaps because others have commented.

I was slightly surprised at the lack of responses from twitter but I suppose twitter offers the least in terms of managing complex interpersonal relationships as Google+ and facebook do.

In summary, it appears my active contacts use both main networks with facebook leading, albeit only slightly.  The proportion of friends responding is similar enough though on both main networks inspiring confidence in me that there is hope yet for the alternative social network. Also I learnt twitter friends don't feel the desire to respond. Either that or they've made their feelings known elsewhere.


Nice analysis, I love to see the use of statistics on everyday and modern avenues.

One comment I am making is on your use of stacked bar charts.

Whilst it does represent the data in a concise way it can make a comparison between two categories difficult. For example we can easily see the size of each set of responders compared to the the respective audience, but we cannot directly compare the responders as it become difficult to gauge the value of each bar.

Just a thought moving forward.


Submitted by Adam Malone on
I see what you mean about making comparisons between responders difficult with the way the data is presented. Perhaps a subsequent graph showing just responders or maybe the use of a different format would enable the data to be read more easily.

One of my favourite books is Tufte's The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, in my opinion it is the quintessential guide to displaying your data. It is full of unique and intriguing techniques and is definitely worth looking at, even for a casual plotter.


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