Social Networking Sites

Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites often include profiles of individuals with information available such as the user’s age/birth date, gender, ethnicity, location (address/city), sexual orientation, political orientation, education, and contact information (email, phone number, website). These sites can also include forums in which users can dialogue with one another. Examples of networking sites include MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, all of which have gained popularity as social forums and modes of communication. Data could be collected through sampling random sites for trends, soliciting information from specific users and creating a profile for data collection that attracts certain users for discussions (such as online focus groups).



  • Able to reach a young demographic using a popular medium
  • Option to create a profile to target specific community
  • Ability to engage participants at remote locations in real time
  • Can be a rich source of quantitative and qualitative data, some of which is publicly available
  • No verification of information available on public profiles
  • Privacy settings on profiles may impede data collection
  • Social networking caters to very specific demographic of users, with an average age range of 14-35 years
  • Consent issues involved working with underage youth (if soliciting information not publicly available on profile)


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