August 3rd, 2012 by Tim Greenhalgh
The Psychology of Social Networking infographic from psychologydegree.net has been buzzing this week but itâ€™s a big fail from where Iâ€™m looking.
The Marketing Tech Blog viewed the infographic and it drew a conclusion that that our emotional attraction mainly is tied much more to having our audience than our desire to connect socially.
It says: â€œSimply put, we care about the â€˜Iâ€™ more than the network of others. Our obsession with ourselves it was drives us to update our status or tag ourselves in photos. Interestingly, Facebook is contemplating how to monetise this psychological drive, including charging approximately $2 to promote our own status updates, in the same manner that Facebook Pages can already do.â€ You can read the full post here.
Maybe the pyschologydegree.net guys have called it right but when such a strong point of view is made and apparently backed by research, with sources given, I feel the urge to check the data.
There is no easy way to do this. The infographic lists sources but naturally, because it is an image, we cannot follow the links by clicking on them.
So I captured the sources in the image and tried to access the source data by manual typing. This is so old school that my irritation level was already on orange.
Guess what? The first source web link, clearly the most authoritative because itâ€™s Harvard University, returned a â€˜404 Not Foundâ€™. (http://wjh.harvard.edu/~dtamir/Tamir-PNAS-2102.pdf).
I went to the specific page on the university website and searched for the relevant document: â€œTamir-PNAS-2012.pdfâ€. Again, I found no match.
This tells me that the infographic is fatally compromised. I do not trust it because I cannot check the data source.
Thatâ€™s disappointing, because the conclusions to be drawn from the infographic could have value for everyone working in social media.