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Facebook check-in places in European union states between socialization and the management of social reputation.

1. Facebook--A Tool of Socialization and Management of Social Reputation in the European Community

The true internet and mass communication revolution in the New Media took place at the beginning of the 3rd Millennium when Web 1.0 moved on to a new stage of its evolution, Web 2.0. This step meant, as far as Horia Mihai Badau is concerned, a liberation from the "oppression of technology" (Badau, 2011: 25). More than this, Web 2.0 was nicknamed "the user's internet," with a new mass communication model being developed, one characterized by a high degree of interaction between transmitter(s) and the online public.

Facebook is part of the Social Media category. In one sense, Facebook is a "free online social network which allows its registered users to create personal profiles, to upload photographs and video clips, to send messages and to interact with friends, family and colleagues" (Rouse, 2009). In another sense, the current online social networks are "the online communication platforms which are using software tools functions like the natural social networks based on direct interpersonal contact" (Cicmaru, 2012, 42). According to the company Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/facebook#!/facebook?sk=info), the networks offer the promise of an open and interconnected world, where the users can share their life experiences and interests.

The Facebook social network was created on February the 4th 2004, and now has 906.895.580 members from 213 countries (www.socialbakers.com, 28 August, 2012).

The social network Facebook has grown fast in recent years regarding users in the European Community. In 2012, the number of Facebook users in Europe reached 232,743,300, resulting in a penetration rate of 28.68% of the social networks among European population, whether online or offline.

Worldwide, Europe ranks first in terms of number of users, but the penetration rate ranks fourth among the population, being surpassed by the North America (42.16%), Australia and Oceania (39.58%) and South America (32%).

Facebook allows users to specify the places where they took photos in the past, being able to mention the names of restaurants, parks, etc. Through the halo effect, the individual is associated with the brand organization or place where the records using Facebook via the check-in, thus increasing its capital social image or reputation. Facebook allows people to provide information not only about where they actually are, but also about where their pictures were taken in the past or what they are wishing to visit in the future. Also, the GPS built in smart phones or laptops allows users to select location from a broader list of targets in the vicinity, some of whom may select a place even if they are not there.

By this method, the users made known their social activities, groups of friends with whom they spend their free time by sending indirect messages about their social status and about self-esteem.

Social media is not just a channel through which people socialize but also a powerful online tool for promoting the image of an individual, an institution or a product.

Just as the EU Member States before accession, shall regulate the rights and obligations provided in the common acquis communautaire, in the same way the extra-European company Facebook has to adapt at EU legislation to operate in joint space.

On this issue, the American company Facebook faced problems in the European Union. One of them consisted of photo facial recognition service, which could violate the privacy protection. Hamburg Data Protection Agency issued a letter to Facebook, which claims that social network users should seek consent before allowing their recognition using biometrics, it said in a story published on the website of the Romanian TV Channel 'Antena 3'. The facial recognition system, implemented in the United States in December 2010, is used to recognize people in photos that are uploaded by the users of Facebook. It suggests using the option "Tag," following the recognition of people in the photo.

2. The Reputation Management

The social impact of the new communication and information technologies has provided a larger social access to information and therefore to a certain dynamics for the thematic and receiving modalities diversification event, according to Camelia Beciu (2011: 157).

This social network has become a platform not only for socializing between individuals but also an extremely important one for promoting the image of certain famous persons. In fact, concepts such as building, maintaining and repairing the image or increasing the social image capital, concepts well known in Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing and applied in the real world, have been replaced by Reputation Management in the Social Media (Facebook).

In the specialized literature (Cicmaru, 2012: 83), the concept of "image" becomes that of "reputation" which represents the more visible, more tangible part of the image, "the stance where the public no longer receives the image with its multiple dimensions, but only receives the key and most visible aspects (audience becomes more superficial, in the context of informational overload)."

Moreover, the reputation management is mainly based on the idea that, no matter if the real world is the place where the actions of a public figure takes place, "the online environment is the one that registers, filters and translates these actions into effects at the image level" (Cicmaru, 2012: 94). This paradigm, "real environment vs. virtual environment" has been inversed because the internet users have started using more and more online data as a source for information and research. Thus, the Google search engine has become the most popular tool for organizing and processing information regarding a public actor or an organization and has provided the online environment the possibility of consecrating, promoting, labeling or eliminating an actor from the public space, the real one.

The novelty of reputation management is given by the fact that all communication channels can be managed and one can create a one-sided image rather than a multi-faceted one, as is the case with the classical strategies and techniques for creating images. Through this single perspective--a single strategy--we obtain two main benefits: "a quicker building of the image (due to the convergence of the actions) and a higher clarity thereof (due to the unity of objectives)" (Cicmaru, 2012: 94).

The main instrument used in a reputation management plan is that of creating a means of communication which can be completely controlled by the ones managing their own reputation. The final result of this program is building the self confidence, founded on the "integrity" of the person or organization: "the unconditioned orientation towards the public well-being, congruence between internal communication, external communication and transparency" (Cicmaru, 2012: 94). Thus, the Facebook page has become the online medium which is 100% controlled by the ones managing their own reputation; there the online public can gain the status of "fan" of the public figure or of the organization by means of a simple adhesion to his or her Facebook page. By means of this mechanism we have established a difference between reputation and image. Reputation has become "the essential image" (Cicmaru, 2012: 95): those undisputed indicators, with a highly positive or highly negative value (levels with high visibility, whether positive or negative, as well as stable in time).

3. The Analysis of Usage Manner of the Facebook Check-in Application by the European Union

3.1. The Research Aims to

O1: Analyze the use of Check-in places application by Facebook users in the Member States of the European Union.

O2: Identify places where the users check in using application based on geographical and cultural differences of the members of Facebook from the EU.

3.2. The Research Hypotheses

It is assumed that:

* A significant percentage of Facebook users use the Check-in places

* There are significant differences between the options mention of locations through check-in places between users in different regions of Europe.

* Most users use the application in their spare time.

3.3. The research method

To achieve the objectives of the work, we used only quantitative research methods. To facilitate the research techniques, we made a group of EU countries according their geographical region, namely:

* Western Europe: Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg.

* Northern Europe: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia.

* Central Europe: Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

* Southern Europe: Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta

* Eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania.

The analysis of the Facebook usage in the EU countries concerned on achieving a correlation between the number of Facebook users in that country, the number of check-ins Name Rank, the social network penetration in the country and analyze the location choices made by check-in.

Information on how to use the Check-in places application by European users of Facebook were obtained by collecting data on site analysis Social Media www.socialbakers.com in the months July to October 2012. In the study, we focused on the first 20 locations for each country, which we grouped by their type: airports, stadiums, attractions, cities, restaurants and clubs, shopping centers, public squares, train stations universities, hotels.

The analyze of the user preferences of the Facebook users in the European Union includes highlighting the specific differences in a heterogeneous continent like Europe, which recorded significant differences both in terms of number of residents in EU countries, the penetration rate among their network, as and cultural differences between the regions.

3.4. Data Collection and Analysis

3.4.1. Western Europe

Western Europe Area, in which we have included countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, five of the six founding members of the European Union concentrates a total of 58,908,060 and 1,737,886 Facebook records of check in, which means that almost 3% of the users from this area using the Facebook Places application. All countries in this region have a penetration rate of social network in the population between 30% and 43%. Relating to places where Western European users are using Facebook Places application to signal their geographical location, we find that there is a symmetry between their countries in France, most check-ins aimed sightseeing in Germany at football presence in Belgium and the Netherlands, the main airports are the main places where both natives and foreigners, indicate position and in Luxembourg, the country with the few users of Facebook, the first choice is the restaurants.

Belgium recorded a total of 4,638,660 users and 35,005 Facebook check-ins. The penetration of social networking among the population of Belgium is 45%. This means that a percentage of 0.75% of Facebook users and 0.32% of the inhabitants of this land use the Check-in Places application. Most Facebook users (24.49%) give check-in when they are at the airport (Brussels South Charleroi Airport, Brussels Airport Zaventem), 22.85% in cities (Bruges, Brussels and Oostende), 12.69% at the stadiums, 11.80% from sights, 10.71% in clubs, 5.58% in restaurants, shopping centers 5.46% and 3.49% at train stations.

France recorded a total of 24,204,920 users and 515,849 Facebook check-ins. The penetration of social networking among the population is 38%. This shows that a percentage of 2.13% of Facebook users and 0.79% of people in this country use the Check-in places application to indicate their friends where they are at any time. Most Facebook users (63.95%) give check-in at touristic objectives such as Disneyland, Louvre, Avenue Des Champs Elysees, Les Galeries Lafayette, Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles, Montmartre, Centre Pompidou, Cannes Croisette (16041), Au Jardin de Luxembourg and Le Bastille. Also, 16.56% of Facebook users give check-in at airports, Lyon and Marseille at 7.61%, 6.72% to 5.16% train stations and park Princes stadium in Paris.

Germany recorded a total of 23,434,780 Facebook profiles, 791,880 check-ins and the penetration of social networking in the population is approximately 30%. This means that a percentage of 3.38% of Facebook users and about 1% of people in this country use the Check-in places application. Most of the Facebook users (24.01%) give check-in when they reach the stadiums (Allianz Arena, Signal Iduna Park, auf Schalke Veltins-Arena, O2 World Berlin, Berlin Olympiastadion Commerzbank-Arena), 19.62 % at the airport in Berlin and Nuremberg and 19.15 in the public markets. Also, 14.32% of the Facebook users report when they are at train stops, 12.82% from sights and 10.08% at shopping centers.

The Netherlands recorded a total of 6,420,560 Facebook profiles, 372,475 check-ins and penetration of social networking in the population is 43%. This means that a percentage of 5.80% of Facebook users and 2.21% of people in this country use the Check-in places application. Most the Facebook users (58.79%) give check in when they arrive at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, followed by 15.41% when are visiting various tourist attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum and others 9.16% from the restaurant, 6.38 from the public squares, 4.01% in the cinemas, 3.43% from train stations and 1.75% from other places.

Luxembourg recorded a total of 209,140 Facebook profiles of 32,677 check-ins and penetration of social networking in the population is 42%. This means that a percentage of 15.62% of Facebook users and 6.38% of people in this country use the Check-in places application. Most of the Facebook users (24.02%) give check-in when they are at the restaurants, followed by 22.72% those who are in clubs, 22.17% in the capital of Luxembourg City, 12.11% in stations train, 6.53% when visiting various tourist attractions and 5.49% in hospitals.

3.4.2. Northern Europe

Northern Europe, where we have included countries such as Denmark, Estonia, Finland, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia concentrates a total of 44,196,200 Facebook users and 2,998,376 check-ins, which this means that 6.78% of the users in this area are using the Facebook Places application. All countries in this region have a penetration of social networking among people between 17.23 and 38% in the Baltic countries and between 42% and 53% for other countries. Relating to places where the users from Northern Europe are using the Facebook Places application to signal their geographical position, we find that there is a symmetry between them. Thus, in all countries except Lithuania and Estonia, the main places visited by the Facebook users, both native and foreign, for report their position for the list of Facebook friends are the airports.

Denmark recorded a total of 2,848,100 Facebook profiles and 226,964 check-ins. The penetration of the social networks in this population is 53.5%. This shows that a percentage of 7.97% of Facebook users and 4.17% of people in this country are using the Check-in service offered by Facebook Places. Most users of Facebook (68,75%) give check-in at airports, sights 13.08%, 7.92% in shopping centers, 5.77% in gyms, 3.12% in stadiums and 1.36% in the capital Copenhagen.

Estonia recorded a total of 462,800 Facebook users, 14,619 check-ins and the penetration of the social networking in the population is approximately 38%. This means that a percentage of 3.16% of Facebook users and 1.11% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application. Most Facebook users (31.58%) give check-in at the shopping center, 22.14% in restaurants and 17.29% in the capital Tallinn, 10.03% in hotels, 7.54% from clubs, 4 84% in the sights, 3.95% at the University of Tallinn and 2.63% in Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport.

Finland recorded a total of 2,134,640 Facebook profiles and 50,832 check-ins. Facebook penetration among the Finnish population is 42% which means that a percentage of 2.38% of Facebook users and about 1% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (39.59%) are giving check-in at airports, 15.32% at the restaurants, 14.29% in the capital Helsinki, 12.14% in clubs, 7.33% in malls, 6.84% from attractions and 4.48% at cinemas.

UK has the highest number of Facebook profiles in Europe, 30595980 and 1840736 check-ins. Facebook penetration among the English population is 51%. This shows that 6.02% of Facebook users and about 3% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (26.54%) give check-in at airports in London (Heathrow, Stansted), followed by 24.11% which indicates their presence in shopping centers, 17% from parks, 12.5% in public institutions, 12.28% in train stations and 7.57% on the two stadiums in Manchester.

Ireland recorded a total of 2112020 Facebook profiles and 166,012 check-ins. Facebook penetration among the Irish population is 47.7% which means that a percentage of 7.86% of Facebook users and 3.73% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (38.77%) indicates their presence through this application when they arrive at airports in Dublin and Cork, 23.93% when are at restaurants and pubs, 11.19% on Stadium, 9.41% on shopping centers, 8.63% from theaters and cinemas, 4.12% on hotels, 1.98% from the capital Dublin and 1.97% when are in the train stops.

Sweden recorded a total of 4657080 Facebook profiles and 669,924 check-ins. Facebook penetration among the Swedish population is 53%, which means that a percentage of 14.39% of Facebook users and 7.08% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (37.36%) indicates their presence through this application when they arrive at airports in Stockholm and Gothenburg, followed by 22.14% which give check-in when are visiting a Tourist, 17.56% when they shop in malls, 9.28% in train stations, 6.14% when they are at the cinema, 4.75% from the restaurant and 2.77% when they are in the stadium.

Lithuania recorded a total of 1036940 users on Facebook and the 5827 network check-ins. Facebook penetration among the Lithuanian population is 30%, which means that a percentage of 0.56% of Facebook users and 0.18% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (25.21%) indicate their presence through this application when they arrive at supermarkets, followed by 24.35% when they are at the capital of Vilnius and other cities, 21.78% at restaurants, 12.46% on hotels 5.15% in cinemas, 4.14% from cubs and 3.86% at airports.

Latvia recorded a total of 348,640 users on Facebook and 23,462 network check-ins. Facebook penetration among the Latvian population is 17.23%, which means that a percentage of 6.73% of Facebook users and 1.05% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (49.74%) indicates their presence through this application when they arrive at the airport in Riga, followed by 10.7% who visit the capital Riga, 9.71% from hotels, 9.39% when they are having fun in clubs, 7.51% when are at the cinema, 5.46% while they are at mall, 4.22% from restaurants and 3.27% from other places.

3.4.3. Central Europe

Central Europe Area, in which we have included countries such as Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, concentrates a total of 21,219,180 users and 354,319 Facebook check-ins, which means that 1.66% of the users in this region use the Facebook Places application. All the countries from this region have a penetration of social networking among people between 23.72% and 42%. Relating to places where the users use the Facebook Places application to signal their geographical position, we find that there is a symmetry between these countries: users from Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary indicates their position for friends when they are at the airport, those from Poland where the capital is located, those from Slovakia when are visiting shopping centers and in Slovenia, where the hotel is located.

Austria has recorded a total of 2.779.940 Facebook profiles and 183,551 check-ins. Penetration of social networking in the population is 34%. This shows that a percentage of 6.60% of Facebook users and 2.20% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (62.72%) give check-in when they are at the airport (Flughafen Wien, Salzburg Airport, Graz Airport), 10.15% in malls, 6.78% in clubs, 6.30% from cities, 5.55% in train stations, 3.34% from hotels, 3.14% at the restaurants and 2.03% in stadiums.

The Czech Republic recorded a total of 3621700 Facebook profiles and 77,840 check-ins. The penetration rate in the population is 36.5%, so this means that a percentage of 2.15% of Facebook users and 0.74% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (40.23%) give check-in at the airport in Prague, 23.35% at restaurants, 13.06% from sightseeing (Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Mosaic House from Prague), 11.96% in the capital Prague, 4.83% from hotels, 2.59% at train stations, 2.20% in clubs.

Hungary recorded a total of 3956940 Facebook users and 50,560 check-ins and the penetration rate in the population is 42%. This means that a percentage of 1.28% of Facebook users and 0.5% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (36.15%) are giving check-in at the airport in Budapest, followed by 33.78% in restaurants, 26.26% from shopping centers, 20.42% in the capital Budapest, 10.49% from public squares, 3.33% from tourism objective Buda Castle, 3.06% on hotels and 2.67% at an educational institution.

In Poland the total number of recorded users of Facebook is 8259700, 29,456 of check-ins. and the check-ins penetration rate in the population is 23.72%. This means that a percentage of 0.36% of Facebook users and 0.08% of people in this country use the Check-in Places offered by Facebook. Most users of Facebook in Poland (21.22%) give check-in when they are in the capital Warsaw and in other cities like Poznan and Krakow. They are followed by 20.66% which indicates their presence in airports, 15.43% from public squares, 12.29% when are visiting various tourist attractions, 12.01% at shopping centers, 8.45% at restaurants, 7.2% to hotels and 2.74% at gyms.

Slovakia recorded a total of 1912700 users and 8516 Facebook check-ins, the penetration rate in the population is 36%. This means that a percentage of 0.45% of Facebook users and 0.16% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (34.22%) give check-in when they are at shopping centers, 16.46% at restaurants, 13.86% in the capital Bratislava and other cities, 13.57% in train stations, 13.09% from hotel, 5.08% from clubs and 3.71% at sights.

Slovenia recorded a total of 688,200 users and 4396 Facebook check-ins and the penetration rate in the population is 35%. This means that a percentage of 0.64% of Facebook users and 0.21% of people in this country use the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (38.74%) give check-in when they are in hotels, 24.39% from various sights, 19.11% in different cities, 10.24% in clubs, 5.48% when they are shopping and 2.05% from restaurants.

3.4.4. South Europe

South Europe where we included countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta concentrates a total number of 42.413.700 Facebook users and 853.270 check-ins, which means that 2.01% of users in this area are using the Check-in places applications offered by Facebook. All the countries in this region have a penetration rate of social network in the population between 38% and 52%. Relating the places in which the users from South Europe are using the Facebook Check-in places application for reporting their geographical position, we find that there is a some symmetry between these countries; so, in countries with the most Facebook users in this area, Italy and Spain, these are reporting often through Facebook Check-in places their presence at the airport, while those from Portugal are informing their friends on Facebook when they are at the stadium. No user from Malta does not use this application offered by Facebook.

Italy recorded a total of 21594760 Facebook profiles and 497,448 check-ins and the social network penetration rate in the population is 38%, which means that a percentage of 2.30% of Facebook users and 0, 85% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (45.8%) give check-in at airports, 15.11% when are visiting attractions (Coliseum, Trastevere, Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore--Sede Via Gemelli, Gardaland), 9.22% in public squares, 8.84% from cities like Florence and Milan, 7.06% at shopping center and 3.25% at hotels.

Spain recorded a total of 16278420 Facebook users and 318,281 check-ins and the social networking penetration rate among the population is 36%, which means that a percentage of 1.96% of Facebook users and 0, 67% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (63.56%) give check-in at airports in Barcelona and Madrid 8.59%, 7.13% from Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid and Barcelona's Camp Nou, 5.18% in museums, 4.26% when they are at train stations and 3.31% from shopping centers

Portugal recorded a total of 4328760 users of Facebook and 37,541 check-ins, the social networking penetration rate among the population is 42.5%, which means that a percentage of 0.87% of Facebook users and 0.36% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (33.27%) give check-in when they are at the stadium (Estadio da Luz, Estadio Jose Alvalade, Estadio do Dragao), followed by 22.08% of those which are visiting various tourist attractions, 17,81%, which indicates their presence in Lisbon, Porto and other cities, 17.46% at restaurants, 4.21%, at shopping centers 3.01% from airports and 2.16% from hotels.

Malta recorded a total of 211,760 Facebook users and the social network penetration rate in the population is 52%. However, no user has used the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook to indicate their friends where they are at any given time.

3.4.5. Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe, where we have included countries such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, concentrates a total of 11,201,680 Facebook users and 220,887 check-ins, which means that almost 2% of the users in this area are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. All the countries from this region have a penetration rate of social network in the population between 23% and 50%. Relating to places where Eastern European users are using the Facebook Places application to report their geographical location, we find that in this respect there is no uniformity between them; thus, in Romania, the most of Facebook users indicates when they are at shopping centers, those from Bulgaria, when they are in clubs, those from Greece, when they are in the restaurant and bars, and those from Cyprus, when are at the airports.

Bulgaria has a total of 2317780 Facebook profiles and 23,340 check-ins, the penetration rate in the population is 34%. This means that a percentage of 1.01% from the Facebook users and 0.32% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (34.3%) give check-in in Bulgarian seaside resorts clubs, 16.25% at sightseeing, 11.53% in malls, 10.90% from universities, 10.59 % at hotels, 10.55% at restaurants, 5.82% in the capital Sofia.

Cyprus recorded a total of 549,300 Facebook users and 25,050 check-ins in the context of penetration of social networking among the population of 50%, which means that a percentage of 4.56% of Facebook users and 2.3% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (45.8%) give check-in at airports in Larnaca and Ercan, 33.17% at restaurants, 6.75%, from hotels 5.41% at sightseeing, 4.68% in cities, 1.52% at Near East University and 1.49% at the mall.

Greece recorded a total of 3690780 Facebook profiles and 77,422 check-ins and the social networking penetration rate among the population is 35.5%. This means that a percentage of 2.10% of Facebook users and 0.68% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (45.66%) report on Facebook when they are in restaurants and bars in the tourist areas, 26.78% when they are visiting sights (Acropolis, Mykonos, Piraeus Port, Rhodes). Also, 12.53% of check-ins are at hotels, 8.21% in clubs and 6.82% in the airports of Rhodes and Corfu.

Romania recorded a total of 4643820 users of Facebook, and the number of check-ins given is 95,075. The penetration rate of social networking among the population is 23%, and this indicates that a percentage of 2.05% of Facebook users and 0.5% of people in this country are using the Check-in Places application offered by Facebook. Most of the Facebook users (38.74%) are giving check-in from the shopping centers in Bucharest, Timisoara, Constanta and Cluj-Napoca, and 19.94% in restaurants. Also, 19.46% of the users indicate on Facebook when they are about to leave the country at the airport, 19.92% when are visiting sights, 6.86% in clubs and 4.08% when are at the Academy of Economic Studies.

3.4.6. Comparisons on the Facebook Check-in Places Application in EU Regions

According to a comparison of the Facebook users and check-in usage, we can observe that, despite the Western region of the Europe has the most users of Facebook, the check-in application is more popular in Northern Europe.

In Western Europe, the number of Facebook users is 58.908.060 and the number of Facebook check-ins is 1.747.886. In Northern Europe, there are 44.196.200 Facebook users and 2.998.376 check-ins. In South Europe there are 42.413.700 users and 853.270 check-ins. The worst number of check-ins is recorded in Central and Eastern Europe.

In Northern Europe, the rate of usage Facebook Places is the highest from the whole Europe Union, 6,78%. In Western Europe, 3% are using the check-in application, in South Europe, 2,01% in Eastern Europe, 2% and in Central Europe, only 1,66%.

Conclusions

Nowadays, the Internet communication has become vital to more users around the world. Moreover, the website Facebook has become an important source for finding information and people. More and more companies take into account in deciding the employment of a person by how it builds its Facebook page, according to photos and posts that this person is posting, depending on the places that she visits.

The Facebook profile is one of the cheapest and affordable ways to reach the "eyes and ears" of a large number of people. The choice of transmission through check-in places the place where a person is, convey sometimes much more information about the person than the messages they post it on his wall.

The desired image and the one transmitted via the Facebook profile are not always congruent, this statement applies both to the image of a company and a person to. Using the Facebook check-in places serve the goal of building a personal brand, because it must contain things that define that person, the places he visits.

The analysis of the application's usage by the European users recorded significant differences between the regions of Europe. Thus, Northern Europe, concentrates the largest number of Facebook profiles of over 44,196,200 and 2,998,376 check-ins being also the area where the Check-in Places is popular, around 6.78% of all users in the area considering it. Northern European region is characterized by a rate of penetration of Facebook network among the population rather high, except the Baltic states, most of the Europeans accessing the application when they are at the airport, therefore when leisure and traveling.

Central Europe comprises 21,219,180 Facebook users and 354,319 check-ins, which means that 1.66% of users in this area are using the Facebook Places. The diary of Facebook users in countries grouped in the region include references to locations like airports, cities or hotels, therefore in this case, Facebook is used primarily in leisure, which confirms the research hypothesis.

Eastern Europe focuses a total of 11,201,680 users and 220,887 Facebook check-ins, which means that almost 2% of users in this area are using the Facebook Places each differently, so in Romania, the many records are in shopping centers, in Bulgaria in clubs, restaurants and bars in Greece and airports in Cyprus.

South Europe appears to 42,413,700 Facebook users and 853,270 check-ins, which means that 2.01% of users in this area are using the Facebook Places application. Unlike those from East, the users from South have about the same options when are using check-in places, so we got some symmetry, those of Italy and Spain announce their presence when they are at the airport, while those in Portugal inform their Facebook friends when they are at the stadium.

Returning to our study hypotheses we conclude stating that:

* The first hypothesis is not confirmed as the Check-in Places application is widely used by the Facebook users, the percentages ranging from 1.66 to 6.78 in Central and Northern Europe. This is due to the fact that the application is relatively recent, in Romania, for example, it was launched in March 2011, so it is possible that the application has not yet become popular because of its new. Another aspect to be mentioned here only taken the availability of application access through smartphone or tablets. First result, the application can only be used by mobile users and devices, being not one to the masses but a group of targeted audience.

* It is confirmed the hypothesis according to which the application confirms that the Check-in places application is used in leisure. However, if we refer to the idea mentioned above, that Facebook profile is the business card of a person in social media, we must take into account those users' options that give check-in when carrying out professional activities in universities, tourist attractions, stations, etc. The route of a person concerned about his image can contain deliberately multiple records at universities, museums, theaters and companies than in bars, clubs or restaurants.

* It confirms the hypothesis that assumed there are significant differences between how the check-in places application is used by people in different regions of the Europe. The differences were analyzed in terms of number of users, the penetration rate of the social network in the country and the percentage of use of the application. However this can be explained by cultural differences between European countries.

REFERENCES

Badau, H.-M. (2011), Communication Techniques in Social Media. Iasi: Polirom.

Beciu, C. (2011), Sociology of Communication and Public Space. Iasi: Polirom.

Cismara, D.-M. (2012), Social Media and the Reputation Management. Bucharest: Tritonic.

www.socialbakers.com

TANASE TASENTE

Andrei Caguna University, Constanta

tashy@tashy.ro

NICOLETA CIACU

Constantin Brancoveanu University, Pitecti

nicoleta_ciacu@yahoo.com

Tanase Tasente, Bachelor Degree and Master Degree in Communication Sciences, Ph.D. Student in Political Sciences. Seminars on topics: New Media, Multimedia, Introduction in Internet technologies, Political Journalism.

Nicoleta Ciacu, Bachelor Degree and Master Degree in Communication Sciences, Ph.D. Student in Political Sciences. Seminars on topics: Public Relations, Promotion through advertising, Techniques of creating image, Developing a PR product with audiovisual media.
Figure 1. No. of users and no. of Facebook check-in in Western Europe

No. of Facebook users

                            Belgium      France      Germany

No. of Facebook users      4.638.660   24.204.920   23.434.780
No. of Facebook check-in    35.005      515.849      791.880

                            Holland    Luxemburg

No. of Facebook users      6.420.560    209.140
No. of Facebook check-in    372.475     32.677

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 2--No. of users and no. of Facebook check-in in
Northern Europe

No. of Facebook    Denmark    Estonia    Finland       UK
  users

No. of Facebook   2.848.100   462.800   2.134.640   80.595.98
  users
No. of Facebook    226.964    14.619     50.832      1840736
  check-in

No. of Facebook    Ireland     Sweden     Lithuania    Letonia
  users

No. of Facebook   2.112.020   1.657.080   1.036.940    348.640
  users
No. of Facebook    166.012     669.924      5.827      23.462
  check-in

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 3. No. of users and no. of Facebook check-in in Central Europe

                           Austria   Czech Republik   Hungary

No. of Facebook users      2779940      3621700       3956940
No. of Facebook check-in   183.551       77.840        50560

                           Poland    Slovakia   Slovenia

No. of Facebook users      8259700   1912700     688200
No. of Facebook check-in    29456      8516       4396

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 4. No. of users and no. of Facebook check-in in
South Europe

No. of Facebook    Italy      Spain     Portugal   Malta
users

No. of Facebook   21594760   16278420   4328760    211760
  users
No. of Facebook   497.448    318.281     37541       0
  check-in

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 5. No. of users and no. of Facebook check-in in Eastern Europe

No. of Facebook users

                         Bulgary    Cyprus     Greece      Romania

No. of Facebook users   2.317.780   549.300   3.690.780   4.643.820
No. of Facebook          23.340     25.050     77.422      95.075
  check-in

Figure 6. No. of Facebook users and check-ins, by regions

No. of Facebook users

                            Western      Northern    Central Europe
                             Europe       Europe

No. of Facebook users      58.908.060   44.196.200     21.219.180
No. of Facebook check-in   1.747.886    2.998.376       354.319

                           South Europe   Eastern Europe

No. of Facebook users        42413700        11201680
No. of Facebook check-in     853.270         220.887

Figure 7. Rate of usage Facebook Places in E.U./regions

Western Europe    3,00%
Northern Europe   6,78%
Central Europe    1,66%
South Europe      2,01%
Eastern Europe    2,00%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Tasente, Tanase; Ciacu, Nicoleta
Publication:Journal of Research in Gender Studies
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2014
Words:6493
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