Facebook is sharing some new research by Facebook Data Scientist Eytan Bakshy that "suggests Facebook is more than just an echo chamber where only likeminded people share information with each other – instead, social networking technologies help to encourage the spread of diverse information and viewpoints," as a Facebook spokesperson puts it in an email to WebProNews.
Here are the main takeaways:
- People are more likely to share information from their close friends on Facebook, but because of their abundance, distant contacts are primarily responsible for the majority of information spread on Facebook.
- Since these distant contacts tend to be different from us, the majority of information we consume and share on Facebook comes from people with different perspectives and is thus novel.
- This research is among the first to rigorously quantify influence at a mass scale, and demonstrates that social networks can act as a powerful medium for sharing new ideas, highlighting new products and discussing current events.
Bakshy discusses the findings at length here.
These findings actually bode well for Google+. One of the most common complaints we see, regarding Google's social network is that it is missing the user's real friends. It just hasn't been adopted by the masses yet the way Facebook has. However, if similar trends occur on Google+ as to what Facebook has found, you shouldn't have to have close friends using it to get significant benefit from it.