What are people saying??

I am all DONE (with the coding that is)! Before I continue I want to recap our overall data collection process:

a)      Three researchers were each given a month on the Long Beach NY, Hurricane Information page (my month is January)

b)      I took a screenshot of each individual post in my month (including comments, likes, shares, etc.)

c)      I uploaded all of my screenshots to an amazing software package MAXQDA (a beautiful tool for people who want to see trends in qualitative data-interviews, diary entries, articles, Facebook posts, etc.)

d)     Categorized each post by variables (Gender, Genre, Number of likes, etc.)

e)      Coded each post for frequent themes (landmarks, institutions, etc.)

After three months, I have successfully achieved all of the above. 🙂 And here is a glimpse at the results:

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What does this mean exactly?? Well, these bars represent WHAT people are talking about on this page in January!! Landmarks, specifically the Boardwalk, are most frequently referenced in the posts. There is more discussion about the Boardwalk than say “FEMA” or the “Sandy Recovery Improvement Act”. I discussed my shock at this immense attention to the boardwalk in a previous blog post because I expected more discussion of rebuilding (at the time I noted over 40 references, my final analysis counts exactly 186 posts out of 533 total posts). Actually immersing myself in this page has shown me how monumental the Boardwalk is to the community of Long Beach. In fact two more of the most frequent codes: Events and Memories frequently referenced the Boardwalk. Why January? Well, I think a lot of the posts in my month were spurred by the official demolition ceremony held by the city of Long Beach early in the month, on January 5. I believe the frequency of these comments relate back to the creation of a community and how communities band together to overcome hardship. After two full months of shock after the hurricane touched down, I believe the month of January signifies a moment of unified resiliency. Yes more pragmatic affairs are important to the people on this Facebook page, as seen by the third most frequent theme, aid, discussed in the comments, however community-building took the front stage in the form of the boardwalk.   

Now let’s rewind to step (d). When I examined the results of the variables, I produced this chart of genres:

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By and large, most of the posts shared information to the Facebook group. But what information is shared?

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The top information shared on the Facebook group in the month of January related to aid, 19% of the posts underneath the genre discussed aid in some capacity. This better reflects what I expected from the Facebook page: an opportunity to share information regarding rebuilding and recovery. The code aid encompassed seven sources of aid: celebrities, community, corporations, emergency services, government, non-profits, and searches for missing people. In the month of January, the most frequent source of aid discussed was non-profits as illustrated below:  

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From my in-depth analysis of each and every comment on this page during the month of January, I believe the main non-profit discussed was the Long Reach Foundation. This particular non-profit is particularly tied to the Long Beach, NY Hurricane Information page. Take a look at their home page:

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I continue to be impressed by the people of Long Beach who engage on this Facebook page. Not only do we see the page used to share information, we see a continued sense of community shared through common experiences, such as an appreciation and love for the Long Beach Boardwalk. Furthermore, the page has left the confines of a virtual universe and solidified its physical presence in the Long Beach community through the creation of the Long Reach Foundation.

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monica byrne

writer . playwright . artist . activist . traveler

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