Popularity on Facebook

How does popularity work on Facebook? How does a person / group / application get popular on Facebook?

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Respondent 1

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J: You already said ‘I’m pretty popular on this Facebook thing’ so how do you get popular on Facebook?

I: well you have to be like, well I’m a people person, and I meet people and I get their name and they find me or I find them and sometimes I’ll be like “I’ll look you up.” It’s like I speak to people and see how they’re doin’ - If I’ve seen you in person and I said something to you and I have you on Facebook, I ask you online. [Garbled section] Like my roommate, she all this “we gonna go on your Facebook and find some friends”

Respondent 2

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J: Okay, so yeah there might be more social capital there.  How does a person get to be popular there?

I:Well you have to go out a lot and meet people, which will build your…

J: So you think it’s reflective of face to face relationships?

I:A little, but sometimes you have like fake friends who are like acquaintances who’ve you’ve met just once and that kind of like – those morph popularity but it’s not really true.

J:Do things like age or gender or if a person has more money, do you think those things influence if a person is popular or powerful?

I:I don’t think so, those aspects are more hidden.  I think it’s more like how much you’re logged in to Facebook and maybe appearance a little bit.

J:That’s an interesting question – your friend who gets messages all the time because she’s good looking—how does the picture element work on Facebook?  Every time you post there’s a little picture attached to it, do you think that influences things?

I:I think so. Like if that person looks, like ‘oh I don’t want to be close with that person’ I don’t think I’d be interacting with that person on Facebook that much.

J: So if there was a really ugly scary lookin’ person you’d be less likely to interact with them?

I:Unless I’m really close to that person in real life.

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Respondent 4

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I: Uh, power on Facebook. uh, I guess with power I think like status so I guess if they’re someone could be more powerful if they are in like a serious relationship and they tell you that on Facebook or they have this many friends like ok I have so many friends and I have this many wall posts.

J: So popularity seems them to determine power?

I:yeah I guess so

J:how does a person or a thing, maybe an application become popular on Facebook?

I:um how does a person become popular? They have the most friends or like

J:Well do they just materialize? Where do they come from?

I:I don’t know where all these people come from but some people have over 1000 pictures and I cant even get over 10 cuz I untag many but I think wall posts was a big deal last year I remember people being like, write on my wall until I get 1000 I want over 1000 posts


I: how does an application get popular I don’t know what popular applications are because I don’t have any but I know that there are some that are

J:fluff friends, bumper sticker…etc

I:I know, ok, bumper sticker is crazy, I’ve gotten a lot of bumper stickers sent to me, but you have to have the application to see it and then so I’ve done that just to see what it was, but I’ve never added it. So I think people just see it somehow through the just think it looks cool and really want it or something…

J: So would it have more to do with how cool the application looks or the person that’s toting the application

I:uh I think more how it looks because so many people can have an application and It’ll look the same so it’s I don’t ever think oh she’s really cool so I’m gonna add the applications she has.

J:that’s bad news for the Facebook Corporation. So we gotta wrap but thank you

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Respondent 6

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J: So my last question is, what makes something powerful on Facbeook and then also what makes something popular on Facebook?  And I know those two may or may not be linked, but what do you think?

I:I think often something popular, is something that’s either something funny that can attract a large audience because it’s type of humor, or something that people can attach to and be like “oh that sounds like me.”  Even though it might—there are certain groups that people will be like “I totally do that” –people who when they see a dry leaf they totally step on it to make a crackling noise or whatever.  People are like “oh yeah that’s totally awesome” even though everyone does it.  That’s one of the groups that gets hundreds of thousands of people—that’s really clever and I think it’s cool, I want to think of something like that and start a group.

J:Oregon Trail or something like that, shared culture?

I:Yeah, something like that, something that everyone can relate to, that sort of thing that is popular, something more powerful, some sort of deeper meaning or call to purpose.

J:Okay, so would that be necessarily attached to a real world organization? So say Illini Pride is on Facebook would they be more powerful than the atheist group s on Facebook? 

I:Yeah, I think so.

J:Okay, so what about people?  What makes a person more able to influence or control on Facebook?

I:I would think it’s more… the amount of friends you have, because the more friends you have the more quickly you could spread things on Facebook.

J:Well strength of ties might vary by person and their friends.  Some people might know all of their Facebook friends better than others. Does that matter?

I:Yeah, so I guess it’s definitely connected to your real-life.  There’s probably a correlation there.

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Respondent 8

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J: Okay, so another weird question.  How do you see power operating on Facebook?  Could a person be powerful on Facebook? And if so how would they be powerful on Facebook?

I:I don’t really see power as a part of Facebook.  I guess if you thought about it, they say now companies look at people that are interviewing, so I guess in there, what you put on Facebook could diminish your power because you could not get the job or do get the job.

J:Would popularity matter, like if a person had a lot of friends?

I:I don’t think the number of friends they have especially because they could be like “Oh I met them once so I better friend them” just to add another number, or whatever, but if you can see they have a lot of wall posts on them for a short amount of time, and it’s not their birthday or something, you can see oh they know a lot of people, oh they’re really friendly they must be someone that you’d really like to talk to.

J: So explain more about how a person gets popular on Facebook.  How would a person do that?

I:I guess on Facebook the easiest way to become popular is to be on Facebook all of the time. So you actually contact all of your friends all of the time, so you stay in touch with them rather than just once a month contact your friends from high school or once a month contact your friends from this group or whatever.

J:How might an application get popular on Facebook, like Bumper Sticker?

I:I think Bumper Sticker is popular mostly because it has like the humorous bumper stickers and the actual deep ones and everything.  It’s—I can’t explain it—like some of them I just look at them and just think of one of my friends or something so I just send it to them and then I’ll be like “Hey maybe they have some funny ones or something” and so I’ll come back because they’ll have some funny bumper stickers.

J:What about applications in general though, if you were to design an application and get it to be popular on Facebook how would you do it?

I:I’m not sure, you could say like send it to a lot of your friends or whatever, but lots of people ignore a lot of applications now just because there are so many of them out there.  If you wanted to get one really popular you’d have to have one that appeals to everybody, that like everybody wants, or just that everybody would just find interesting, rather than just trying to target a specific group of people.

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Respondent 10

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J: Who do you think—how do groups and people get popular on Facebook?

I:How do people get popular?

J:Sure, why would a person have a lot of friends on Facebook, and then also why would a group do really well?

I:A group would do really well if it’s a group people like because then it just spreads, because one person can send it to all of their friends and that’s all they can do, you know? I don’t know what a good group would be. People who have more friends are probably weird and just friend everyone.  You get friend requests from people you don’t know, or barely know, or met once.

J:What does it take to make a friend request and be okay?

I:For me you at least have to have met more than once, maybe if you met twice.  Or like a good friend of a friend.  You’re either in a class and you met out more than like once, or it’s your good friend friend’s from home, I’ve done that before.