Can we talk about a Facenography?

Danielle Bebey


In terms of analysis, methods such as the netnography proposed in the early 2000s by the American social scientist Kozinet, allow the ethnography of digital data on the platform to be established. The Twetnography put forward by Galan, J.-P., & Vignolles, A. (2013), comes later to deepen this method on Twitter in Management Sciences. However, when it comes to making observations over time, conducting comparative studies or behavioral typologies, it becomes difficult to adopt Twetnography. This is why we propose an approach coming from Information and Communication Sciences, which is interdisciplinary and could position Facebook in Social Sciences research as a gathering method in its own right. It exploits its quantitative research tools, the application interfaces compatible with the social network and allows for specific qualitative analysis in addition. We have identified a much more significant potential on this digital social network. Hypotheses have been put forward as to the exploitation of such a method. We therefore tested open data gathering tools as a first step to prove our proposal. The idea behind this presentation is to mobilize researchers on the challenges of such a device by showing its opportunities concretely. As part of our action-research focused on the issue of engagement in training, we created Facebook groups to add an asynchronous component to our initial face-to-face training. In this presentation, we will talk about a single group made up of 10 learners from a negotiation course that took place in France from September 2017 to February 2018. As manager of this learning community, we had access to all the qualitative information, i.e. verbatims. It is possible to integrate those verbatims into software such as Facepager, Sociograph or Iramuteq for a more in-depth analysis. It was important for us to carry out a mixed research to establish a triangulation of data and to bring a part of objectivity in the appreciation of our proposal. For the quantitative aspect, we drew inspiration from American researchers by also observing the engagement on the analysis engine Grytics, dedicated to Facebook groups. This tool gave us information on interactions and their temporality, engagement through reactions (like, post, comment), comparison of statistics by period, ranking of the most engaging content, etc. What we needed to measure engagement in our research. The purpose of our communication is therefore to open the perspectives of such a proposal from a field that is interested in both mediation and mediatization. This will probably allow us to evaluate the relevance of a proposal centered on Facebook and which goes beyond it through the numerous features such as images, documents, texts, videos, among others that Facebook shares with other social networks such as Snapchat, WhatsApp or YouTube. But, is this enough to make people adopt this approach knowing that the research topics will not necessarily deal with engagement and the panel could be larger ? On the other hand, isn't this how the methods used today were developed a few years ago ?

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