Social Media in a Subjective-science Mode: The “Facebook Likes” Study Reconfigured with Self-reference

James C Rhoads, Dan B Thomas, Bruce McKeown


A Cambridge University study of more than 58,000 users of the popular social medium Facebook examined the extent to which the Facebook "Likes" button predicted behaviors and attributes of a diverse nature (IQ, sexual identity, political and popular-culture preferences, religious affiliation, and the like). Despite revealing several intriguing and statistically significant relationships, the research sheds scant light on the nature of the subjectivity at play. In a Q-methodological study of a sample of subjectively communicated responses to the Cambridge research, three versions of the subjective interface between the users of Facebook and the social medium are reported.  Implications for studying the social-psychological aspects of social media from the methodological principle of self-reflection are discussed.


Facebook; Social Media; Q Methodology; Subjectivity

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