Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cross-sectional analysis of annual nativity congratulations

A couple months back it was my birthday. I decided to do a little study of my friend demographics via facebook. Which state likes me best? Which gender? Which socioeconomic class? Inclusion criteria: being on facebook and posting on my wall on 3/22/11 from 0000 to 2400. Exclusion criteria: If you said happy birthday to me in person, via phone or text. I can't process the variables of these different communication techniques. Only facebook posts will be counted.

Results: 53 people responded to facebook telling them it was my birthday. At the time I had about 390 friends (in theory I was sticking to my friend cap of 365, but in reality that limit had been irreparably damaged) meaning this represented about 14% of my friends. I think I'm on the cutting edge of facebook sociology, so I don't have anything to compare this turnout to.

Gender breakdown: 77% female responses, 23% male. This isn't very surprising. For one, I'm sure my friend list skews heavily female, as my actual friends skew female, and the people that I add on facebook skews heavily female. Even if my female: male ratio was 50/50, it would be surprising if the men said happy birthday at the same rate as the women. It's kind of a girly thing to do, commentating on someone's birthday.

Marriage breakdown: 34% married response, 66% single response. These numbers are a little fuzzy, but I ended up including engaged responses as single, unless they got married by the time the study was performed, ie, this morning. I often defriend married people, so the fact that I have any response from them at all is somewhat noteworthy. But at this point the vast majority of my contacts over the years are married, so they have numbers on their side. And those marrieds I still talk to are among my closest friends, so this result isn't too surprising.

Mormon breakdown: 87% LDS, 13% non-LDS. Clearly, I need to stop hanging out with so many Mormons. But this isn't a surprising result when you take into account the years at BYU, on a mission, family members and current social circle in Arizona.

Location breakdown: 11% New York, 13% Utah, 4% Idaho, 28% Ohio, 34% Arizona, 9% Other. This isn't where the people currently live, but where I met them. This was kind of an interesting one, because the percentages relate to how social I was, I popular I was, how long I lived there, how long ago it was, and how well I've long-distanced. For instance, I know a lot of people in NY, but I haven't been back in years and have done a horrible job keeping up contacts. In fact, I had zero contacts from my years in Virginia. I would've expected Utah to be higher, as that was a very social 4 years, but again, I haven't kept up contact well. And as I've cropped my friends over the years to stay under 365, my Utah peeps have been thoroughly thinned. Ohio is about where I'd expect it, but Arizona was higher. Work has kept me minimally social over the last year, but I guess my periodic appearances have been enough to keep me in the general consciousness of the state. Other is mostly family members, so I couldn't well quantify where I met them.

Family breakdown: 9% family, 91% non-family. Not surprising.

Age breakdown: 91% of responses are from individuals within 5 years of my age, 9% are significantly older or younger than me. I've always been pretty agist, so this wasn't too far out of whack.

Medical breakdown: 13% medical professionals, 87% non-medical professionals. I included doctors, nurses and pharmacists. I'm surprised the med numbers aren't higher, but I've generally kept a little distance between my work associates and friends.

So there you have it. I'll let you know how next year turns out, though that study will not be blinded like this one. I'll also let you know what major medical journal this study will be appearing in so you can rush out and buy a copy.

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