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Alan Dodaro

Matt Drobysh
Jessica Radogno
Final Project Report: Political Facebook

Competitive Analysis:
I. ORIGINAL FACEBOOK
Logo:
About: Facebook.com is a social network originally started to bring college students together based on their schedules. It has
evolved into a network that anyone can join to communicate, post their interest, share pictures, videos, notes, blogs and more.
Facebook is primarily what we based our offshoot – “Political Facebook” – off of. Several political candidates do have social
facebook profiles already.
What we will use and do differently: Presently, if you look at a candidates profile on facebook there is a lot of personal
information. We want to eliminate this type of information on our site and stick strictly to factual information that has to do with
the issues (positions held, main concerns, voting records, etc.)
II. PAYATTENTION.ORG
Logo:
About: PayAttention.org is a website that is devoted to informing people on the importance of voting and of being aware of who
you are voting for. There primary tactic is a website that creates a spoof election including candidates such as “bag of leaves” and
“side of hash browns”. They emphasize that by not voting you are ultimately affecting the outcome of an election. They include a
link to voter registration. Although they do not directly provide any information on candidates, they link to project vote smart,
another one of our sources.
What we will use and do differently: What we will be taking from payattention.org has to do primarily with theoretical ideas.
We share the belief with them
that people need to be more aware of whether or not they are voting as well as who exactly they are voting for. However, it does
not seem like payattention.org takes a very proactive approach to this problem. While it is funny and entertaining the site itself
does not have any relevant information on the candidates.
III. PROJECT VOTE SMART
Logo:
About: Project Vote Smart actually encompasses a lot of the information and the type of information that we wanted to include on
Political Facebook. They provide information about candidates such as voting records, committees, experience, education and
position on issues. With regards to unbiased, factual information (as much as information can be unbiased in the political industry)
Project Vote Smart does the most efficient job and for this reason we based a lot of the kinds of information included on our site
from here.
What we will use and do differently: While we like all of the information that vote-smart has to offer, and feel that it does the
best job in providing factual unbiased information, there are things that we want to do differently. Vote-smart’s interface is not
extremely user friendly. We plan to create an interface that is fun and easy to navigate – our goal in doing this is that people will
be more likely to use the site and for longer periods of time because they will not be bored, confused or discouraged in searching
for something.
IV. MYSPACE.COM
Logo:
About: Similar to facebook, myspace.com is a social networking website through which users can create, update and maintain
personal profiles. It has many of the same features of facebook including profiles for candidates. In the future MySpace actually
plans to do something similar to what we have proposed and host a mock election.
What we will use and do differently: We also plan to do the mock election. Like facebook however, we do not approve of the
type of information that is presented on the candidate’s profile pages. It is clear that the pages are being run by the candidates
themselves or someone from their camp. A recent legal situation with Obama and the man who had previously been running his
MySpace page demonstrates how much candidates want to be in control of their own profiles. We plan to avoid such conflicts by
removing superfluous information such as announcement speeches, biased headlines and an overload of hand-selected
photographs.
V. SELECTSMART.COM
Logo:
About: Select-smart is a website that provides a number of different quizzes that, based on your answers, advise you as to what
decision to make about a particular subject. We used their 2008 presidential candidate selector on our site.
What we will use and do differently: Originally we had planned on developing our own quiz primarily because we didn’t want
to use someone else’s. However, in reality, we decided that none of us were qualified enough to develop quiz like the one we
wanted. We did however make a change to SelectSmart’s quiz in order to enhance it for college students. A lot of college students
who will be coming to our page in the first place do not have extensive knowledge of candidates OR issues. We added hyperlinks
into the quiz so that a student could click to find out more about a particular issue before stating where they stand on the issue.
VI. 4PRESIDENT.ORG
Logo:
About: 4president.org is a site we briefly referenced to illustrate the magnitude of sites that are out there attempting to provide
information about political candidates – this case for president. The page provides very limited information on candidates and is
relatively difficult to navigate. We aren’t really using anything from this site other that the theoretical idea that all of the
candidates need to be presented somewhere and to illustrate the effort of people to try and do this.
VII. ROCK THE VOTE
Logo:
About: Rock the Vote is geared toward a younger crowd which definitely applies to our project. On their page you can register to
vote, find out where to vote, join the team to help others get out there and vote.
What we will use and do differently: We actually use the rock the vote campaign in our site. They are most like our site with
regards to the demographic they are appealing to. They do not provide information on candidates and that is something we do
include. Other than that we like the interface and the goal they are trying to attain.
Design Log and Rationale
When we developed the idea of Political Facebook, we wanted to focus on creating a source of information that college students
could access easily and get plenty of unbiased information. After several revised ideas, we developed a prototype that aims to
achieve that goal.
When we first got the general idea on the table, we envisioned persona(s). Our primary focus is the “average” college student who
doesn’t get much information on political candidates and watches The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or the Colbert Report as a
news source. We also saw this persona as someone who is interested in networking online with Facebook. We also figured that we
could design for the college student who is politically interested or active but doesn’t know about all of the candidates and focuses
solely on their favorites. When we thought about our design ideas more, we thought that Political Facebook could be very useful
for anyone looking for more information on all of the presidential candidates running for office.
When we first came up with the idea, we wanted to have information from the popular candidates as well as the lesser known
candidates. Beyond that, we wanted to have legit information that wasn’t biased. We saw this as a difficult task from the
beginning.
Credibility was a huge concern for us. We thought we could address this issue by covering the most candidates possible (if not
all). Also, we thought that the information on each candidate’s page should have equal amounts. Another decision we made was to
exclude any commentary on the candidates or any type of journalism as this almost always leads to bias.
As we began paper prototyping, we wanted to design a way for the user to have to look at opposing candidates on each page. The
original idea was to create a split screen with different information on each side of the screen. We found this to be too intrusive to
the user, and we wanted to attract the average college student in order to spark interest instead of putting them off.
As the prototype began taking shape, we considered adding video content. This we found to be quite problematic for several
reasons. One reason is that online video can
be easily manipulated, and there are countless videos on YouTube that have been edited to change the original message. Another
reason is that unpopular candidates don’t get as much television coverage so the amount of video content would be unequal.
Additionally, we discussed how the actual video selection process would be biased, because we would be determining which
videos we thought were appropriate based on our opinion.
Our final prototype took into account these issues. We used a standard Facebook interface that is switchable between the political
candidates’ “social Facebook” (which are the Facebook profiles pages created by the actual candidates), and “political Facebook
(which are the pages we created). This allows for a familiar user interface which will help attract the average college student and
be an easy process to learn. We focused on the key issues for each candidate, and created a sidebar which had the photos of related
candidates. The photos do not include names so as to provide more incentive for the user to view their page. We also included
links to quizzes the user can take to get a better idea of which candidate’s political views they most identify with. Overall, the
design provides valuable information that will hopefully spark the interest of the uninformed user and get them to look for more
information on various candidates.
Future Work
The first addition we would add to our prototype would be creating profiles for each and every presidential candidate currently in
the race. Additionally, we would like to implement a Facebook primary in which users could vote for candidates and see the
results based on their network affiliation (school, state, etc.). Also, for each of the key issues on the candidates’ pages, we would
use hyperlinks that would lead to where we cited the information.
We would also like to see how users interact with Political Facebook. We feel it would be beneficial to get user feedback and see
what features are most beneficial and which ones are not. We learned that many of our realizations throughout the semester could
have been made earlier had we done more research as far as which features should be used. This of course is difficult to foresee
when creating a new design, but still may have helped. We feel that in the future development of Political Facebook, user feedback
will be essential.
Political Facebook Main Page

Facebook Primary PageAs the increase in popularity of social networking is on a constant rise,[20] new uses for the
technology are constantly being observed.

At the forefront of emerging trends in social networking sites is the concept of "real-time web" and "location based." Real
time allows users to contribute content, which is then broadcasted as it is being uploaded - the concept is analogous to live
radio and television broadcasts. Twitter set the trend for "real time" services, where users can broadcast to the world what
they are doing, or what is on their minds within a 140 character limit. Facebook followed suit with their "Live Feed" where
users' activities are streamed as soon as it happens.While Twitter focuses on words, Clixtr, another real time service, focuses
on group photo sharing where users can update their photo streams with photos while at an event. Friends and nearby users
can contribute their own photos and comments to that event stream, thus contributing to the "real time" aspect of
broadcasting photos and comments as it is being uploaded. In the location based social networking space, Foursquare gained
popularity as it allowed for users to "check-in" to places that they are frequenting at that moment. Gowalla is another such
service which functions in much the same way that Foursquare does, leveraging the GPS in phones to create a location-based
user experience. Clixtr, though in the real time space, is also a location based social networking site since events created by
users are automatically geotagged, and users can view events occurring nearby through the Clixtr iPhone app. Recently, Yelp
announced its entrance into the location based social networking space through check-ins with their mobile app; whether or
not this becomes detrimental to Foursquare or Gowalla is yet to be seen as it is still considered a new space in the internet
technology industry.[21]

One popular use for this new technology is social networking between businesses. Companies have found that social
networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great ways to build their brand image. According to Jody Nimetz, author
of Marketing Jive,[22] there are five major uses for businesses and social media: to create brand awareness, as an online
reputation management tool, for recruiting, to learn about new technologies and competitors, and as a lead gen tool to
intercept potential prospects.[22] These companies are able to drive traffic to their own online sites while encouraging their
consumers and clients to have discussions on how to improve or change products or services.

One other use that is being discussed is the use of Social Networks in the Science communities. Julia Porter Liebeskind et al.
have published a study on how New Biotechnology Firms are using social networking sites to share exchanges in scientific
knowledge.[23] They state in their study that by sharing information and knowledge with one another, they are able to
"increase both their learning and their flexibility in ways that would not be possible within a self-contained hierarchical
organization." Social networking is allowing scientific groups to expand their knowledge base and share ideas, and without
these new means of communicating their theories might become "isolated and irrelevant".

Social networks are also being used by teachers and students as a communication tool. Because many students are already
using a wide-range of social networking sites, teachers have begun to familiarize themselves with this trend and are now
using it to their advantage. Teachers and professors are doing everything from creating chat-room forums and groups to
extend classroom discussion to posting assignments, tests and quizzes, to assisting with homework outside of the classroom
setting. Social networks are also being used to foster teacher-parent communication. These sites make it possible and more
convenient for parents to ask questions and voice concerns without having to meet face-to-face.

Social networks are being used by activists as a means of low-cost grassroots organizing. Extensive use of an array of social
networking sites enabled organizers of the 2009 National Equality March to mobilize an estimated 200,000 participants to
march on Washington with a cost savings of up to 85% per participant over previous methods.[24]
The use of online social networks by libraries is also an increasingly prevalent and growing tool that is being used to
communicate with more potential library users, as well as extending the services provided by individual libraries.

A final rise in social network use is being driven by college students using the services to network with professionals for
internship and job opportunities. Many studies have been done on the effectiveness of networking online in a college setting,
and one notable one is by Phipps Arabie and Yoram Wind published in Advances in Social Network Analysis.[25]

[edit] Social network hosting service

A social network hosting service is a web hosting service that specifically hosts the user creation of web-based social
networking services, alongside related applications. Such services are also known as vertical social networks due to the
creation of SNSes which cater to specific user interests and niches; like larger, interest-agnostic SNSes, such niche
networking services may also possess the ability to create increasingly-niche groups of users.

[edit] Business model

Few social networks currently charge money for membership. In part, this may be because social networking is a relatively
new service, and the value of using them has not been firmly established in customers' minds.[citation needed] Companies such as
MySpace and Facebook sell online advertising on their site. Their business model is based upon large membership count,
and charging for membership would be counterproductive.[26] Some believe that the deeper information that the sites have on
each user will allow much better targeted advertising than any other site can currently provide.[27]

Social networks operate under an autonomous business model, in which a social network's members serve dual roles as both
the suppliers and the consumers of content. This is in contrast to a traditional business model, where the suppliers and
consumers are distinct agents. Revenue is typically gained in the autonomous business model via advertisements, but
subscription-based revenue is possible when membership and content levels are sufficiently high.[28]

[edit] Issues
[edit] Privacy