A graph search is another great tool that can be utilized by journalists to gather more information — but should be used with discretion much like an shortcut.
I decide to conduct a graph search on friends who are interested in Osheaga, a music and arts festival based out of Montreal, Quebec. Just figured why not, I’ve been there, I’m super into music and arts — and I wanted to see what kind of information would pop up.
Which as expected, went on to a list of my oh-so-close Facebook friends who have hit the “like button” on the official page.
Ta-da! A list of my facebook friends, sorted by a combination of mutual friends, interested, and that “best friends” thing they added like five years ago that I apparently used.
What interested me though was another search option below it was “my friends that live near Osheaga”
It seems almost like Facebook recognizes this as a kind of event. If I typed in a restaurant, would it bring me to friends who live near that restaurant?
Quick answer is no, but it definitely made me hungrier for sure.
But how weird is it that the first two people who pop up are people I met at Osheaga, and people I stayed with. Was the fact that the people who lived close to the event, and had also liked that page, were the first people to pop up? — I think not.
I can see how this tool would be wicked useful for journalists, if you want to know some information regarding a group of people — no longer will you need to click back and forth between web pages for organizations, google searches, emails, and personal pages. Thanks to Facebook being such a utilized tool it almost skips a step. So instead of going online and clicking around until I find Facebook pages for someone who, for instance, works for Lyndon State College, instead of clicking into websites, finding names, writing them down, performing an alternate search:
And as you scroll down, people who aren’t your friends and have their privacy settings so they are searchable will pop up too.
Graph searches open you up to a sea of information, but I think it’s important to be able to filter through this information as well, and to be especially careful when using a personal Facebook page because as it has been mentioned, to a degree these searches are tailored to your interests which doesn’t always go hand in hand with your journalism.
For my project, I am following VICE News, and I chose to look further into Jason Leopold, a senior investigative reporter for VICE who has been working on their national security, terrorism, and Guantanamo news.
He was not hard to find, I simply graph searched him “people who work at VICE News” and came up with his personal page, then did a separate search to see if he has a page.
And it’s verified..
Buttttttt — that’s all I can really say for him. His personal use of Facebook on his public page is devastatingly low traffic. 95 likes. That is not reaching out to a lot of people.
He seems to mostly use this page to share his articles he has been working on with VICE.
Although he is pretty fast at responding — and actually responds
His posts lack any personality, and are only his own, no shares, links, nothing — it almost seems to be a destination for him to publicly archive his work.
Maybe this has something to do with the way VICE itself functions, though. On their social media accounts, there is no clear evidence that there are faces behind the words for anything they write. While VICE does have personality in the way they present things and are decent sharers — they might want to consider taking the extra step of introducing the reporters: sharing posts and tweets from them, and giving VICE a little more personality.