It is no mystery why or how information spreads at such a rapid pace with the use of social media. We’ve applied the terms “replicability, searchability, persistence, and scalability” to several of the topics discussed throughout the semester, but generally these topics have been fairly general (i.e. privacy and legal issues). Information spreads like wildfire due to communities on social networks, one of the primary sites being Facebook. There are many ways to stay connected via the site, one being the pages users can like and join in order to find places to eat, articles from their favorite news corporations, or keep up to date on events at the local community center. In the Czech Republic, Facebook has more users than Twitter, making the former the primary social network site for online news in the country.
In the Czech Republic, some of the top pages on Facebook include: a discussion board for users looking for Prague-based services, a feed sharing articles and news about the Vltava, a non-profit fighting for free tap water in restaurants across the country, and a Prague equivalent of Humans of New York.
The discussion board, Crowd Sauce CZ, allows the 6,000 plus members ask other Prague dwellers for recommendations and advice on anything and everything from visa information to compression sleeves to cosmetology licenses. It is a fairly active page, with dozens of posts each week asking other users anything that may pop into their minds. Nearly all of the questions posted have been answered, showing that there is a serious community on this small but mighty page.
NÁPLAVKA, a page with information about the river that runs through Prague, has over 20,000 likes, however, it is hard to call this page a community, especially compared to the previously mentioned page. The page seems to generate a moderate to minimal amount of traffic, regardless of the page’s impressive amount of “likes”. The posts range from zero likes to 300, which can possibly be attributed to the month-long breaks the moderator(s) of the page take between posts. Nearly all of the posts are without comments or shares.
Personally, I find the Humans of Prague page the most interesting. After the success of Brandon Stanton’s Facebook page, plenty of “Humans of…” pages have popped up, some for other cities, others for colleges and universities. The page generates a generous amount of traffic with nearly 90,000 likes, around a thousand likes per post, and plenty of comments and shares. The page functions in a similar way to Stanton’s page. The people the photographer, Tomáš Princ, captures individuals he finds intriguing or lively and asks them about themselves. Quite often, the quote used to capture the image is full of emotion, which users pick up on and quickly comment their own opinion regarding the subject of the caption. It’s a quick way to build a community through images, and all over the internet this community building method has proven effective. You relay an emotional story to a crowd and they sympathize, empathize and share their own stories.
These pages all have equivalents in the US and quite possibly dozens of other countries across the globe. It is interesting, however, how easily some pages build groups that trust each other to ask for advice or share upsetting and personal stories. These pages are clear markers of how Facebook, and other social networks for that matter, are building communities across countries and eventually across the globe.
Featured Image taken as a screenshot courtesy of the Humans of Prague Facebook page