Can Facebook be a source of inspiration to develop your talent?

A couple of months ago, I attended a data science conference at UC Berkeley where I had the opportunity to listen first-hand some of the research being undertaken by data-native organizations such as Facebook and Uber among others. During the Facebook presentation, I kept thinking about some of the contributions that Facebook has made in terms of understanding issues such as how emotions and political views spread among its users.

These studies found slight evidence of emotional contagion but little interest from users to get political views different from their own. It seems like emotions do spread a bit but different political views have a harder time getting our attention. Reflecting on these results led me to come up with another study that I would love to conduct to measure the impact we’re having at TrixandTrax.

At TrixandTrax we organize talent shows at high schools with the purpose of generating hundreds of videos of students showing their talent. We then distribute these videos on Facebook with the intent of building a community of students who get inspired to pursue their passion. We believe that when kids see videos of other kids like them, performing a trick on a skateboard, singing a song or dancing in front of their schoolmates sends a truly positive message that spreads values of self-confidence, creativity, leadership and teamwork and ultimately drives their self-motivation to learn new skills.

As of today, we have executed 25 school events in Venezuela and Chile that have generated thousands of performance videos from tens of thousands of registered participants (we get the parents of all participants to sign a release that authorizes us to publish the videos of their kids). It would be great to explore ways in which we can partner with Facebook to better measure the positive impact that we believe this type of videos can have on our target audience, kids of ages 13–18.

We propose a research study along the following general guidelines to be discussed:

  • We select a set of random anonymous users within our target.
  • We examine their postings before our intervention to measure their level of self-motivation.
  • We define our intervention as being exposed or not to a variety of our talent videos over a period of time to be defined.
  • We then examine their postings to see if we could infer higher levels of self-motivation for those who were exposed to our videos.

We see this research as an important piece that would help us understand the impact that we’re generating and communicate the value of Facebook as a platform that could potentially shape positive behavior and transmit positive values. A study like this will allow us to confirm or not that videos of kids showing their talent inspires other users to pursue their own talents.