We analyzed the number of “likes” during the MBSJ2012.
Total number of likes
The total number of likes reached over 70,000 likes. The number of likes per day increased two weeks prior to the conference.
Number of likes per participant
The number of participants who “liked” at least once was 2,678 people. Using 6,000 for the total number of participants, 2,678 / 6,000 = 45% of participants used the “like” button more than once.
The total number of participants who logged in at least once was 5,059 people. Using 6,000 for the total number of participants again, 5,059 / 6,000 = 84% of participants logged in. This means that 16% of participants never logged in to the online program system (however, since you can view the program without logging in, the actual percentage of participants who used the system is likely to be higher).
A significant number of people “liked” more than 100 times.
Number of “likes” per presentation
The median number of “likes” for posters was 11 likes. For oral presentations, the median was 31 likes. Most importantly, only 21 presentations were without any likes. The vast majority of presentations had more than a few likes.
Interpretation of the results
According to the theory of Diffusion of Innovations, innovation is communicated over time in a stepwise fashion among members of a social system, via a process that is similar to diffusion. Technology laggards constitute about 16% of a given population and these people tend to have strong negative feeling towards change.
Similarly the Chasm theory describes a chasm between early adopters and the early majority. The Chasm theory dictates that if a product can cross the Chasm and be successfully adopted by the early majority, then the probability of it becoming the de facto standard is high.
These two theories lead us to interpret the above results as following.
Participants not using the online conference system are the laggards
The percentage of participants who did not use the online conference system are likely to be the “laggards”. These people are adverse to change and tend to be advanced in age. Since it is difficult to influence these people, making them change will be difficult.
The “Like” feature has crossed the Chasm and is in the early majority
With 45% of participants “liking” at least one presentation, we can conclude that the “like” feature has crossed the Chasm (2.5 + 13.5 = 16% adoption) and is now in the middle of the early majority phase. It is highly probable that the adoption of the “like” feature will continue into the late majority, becoming the de facto standard, assuming that it is provided at future conferences.