"When I post something online, who are the people who care?" - Everyone on the web
When you’ve built a network of people who follow you online, it’s natural to wonder who they are, how they found you, and what they like to hear about and comment on. It’s difficult to solve some mysteries of the online universe, like “why did this thing go viral?” or “where did she find that link?” or “how many of my friends miss my Facebook posts because of newsfeed changes?” But there are some things an app like ThinkUp can quantify: like the identifying characteristics of people who do interact with your posts.
Meet ThinkUp’s new gender breakdown insight.
This insight looks at all the likes and comments you received on your Facebook posts in the past week, and charts the responses by gender, based on how your likers and commenters filled in the “Gender” field in their Facebook profile. The goal is to offer one facet of an answer to a larger question about who interacts with you the most.
The gender breakdown insight is the first project my Summer of Code 2014 mentee Anna Shkerina completed. She also worked on insights that offer stats on age and locations. Those will be available on thinkup.com in the coming months.
We started with the gender breakdown insight because we know that it’s the most compelling and the most flawed. We know gender isn’t a binary choice. On Facebook, the Gender field in your profile has two preset values - “male” and “female” - and then an option to fill in a custom phrase. (This is Facebook’s way of addressing my argument against drop-down identities.)
Right now, ThinkUp only presents the data for people who chose male or female. We don’t like perpetuating the notion that all people go into one of two buckets. But this approach keeps ThinkUp from “other”ing everyone else, or revealing custom gender phrases that count potentially contain private information.
As with everything in our app, this insight is a work in progress. We’d love to hear from you about how we can improve it and all the others going forward.
(For more of our thinking around gender and social networks, see Anil’s essay on the year he didn’t retweet men.)
Now, we want to know: were you surprised when you found out what your gender breakdown looks like? Sign up for ThinkUp with Facebook and find out.