Growing out of Popular Culture

Concept

The websites we ‘like’ on Facebook come in many different sizes. Some are personal homepages, others are large international news websites or online services. This project investigates whether the age of a Facebook user influences the kind of websites they like. The metric chosen to determine the popularity of a website, was Google’s PageRank.

Process

The initial version used the metaphor of scales, to give the viewer a visual clue that these values were being ‘weighted’ against one another. Unfortunately, the metaphor of scales did not match well with the value it displayed, which was an average of the individuals’ values, not a total.

Therefore the presented version dropped the scale metaphor in favour of a more abstract depiction. The graphic tried to convey information both on the group and individual’s level. This did however make the message harder to read, and during the final presentation, it took my fellow students longer to translate the graphic than I hoped for.

After the course, I made another revision that reduced the amount of groups from three to two. Showing the individual’s data was dropped in favour of showing the group’s data as a whole. The resulting graphic no longer required a legend and was easy to interepret.

Findings

My hypothesis at the start of the project was that younger people would like more small ‘fringe’ websites (“did you check out this new hip fashion blog?”) and older people would like larger, more traditional websites like respectable news sources.

To my surprise, people below 30 (on average) like websites with a higher PageRank than people above 30. While I can only guess at the reasons why, it may be that older people tend to like websites from their local community, while young people may be exposed to more internationally oriented websites, which generally have a larger audience.

STUDENTS

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