For the data collection, the online server Netlytic was used. Netlytic is a cloud-based text and social network analyzer which can deal with big data of information and examine them. It is used to explain and analyze the connections between users of a social media platform, based on a keyword or a hashtag (Social Media Lab, s.d.).
For the purpose of the research, the iterations picked were 5, meaning 100 related items to the research analysis done. The choice was made to gain the useful information to the research, and not having to deal with a too broad information, less selective and harder to analyze.
To improve our findings, it would have been better to select the responses just of American women between 16 and 25, which was not done, due to the amount of data that resulted from the analysis. The records imported for each hashtag were 1000 at a time, which allowed a broad understanding of what people talk about or think about the hashtags analyzed.
The data file then was imported to Gephi, a tool that allows to visualize and describe better the data found for the research. To improve the findings, the layout ForceAtlas2 was used and a stronger gravity through the data was applied, in order to gather them together so that they were readable and understandable. Another filter that it was used was to color the nodes present in the data found so that the visualization was improved and it was able to explain the findings with more clarity. Last but not least, it was necessary to select the availability to show the name of the nodes in the graph. In this way, the viewers can understand better the process and the data were better described during the visualization and analysis process.
Visualization & Interpretation
The graph above shows the interconnection between Instagram users using the hashtag #Allbodiesaregoodbodies. The graph shows multiple clusters with each their bigger groups. The graph consists out of 575 channels and 454 conversational connections. The graph shows 9 different clusters colored green, purple, red, orange, turquoise, blue, gray, dark and light brown. The biggest cluster, a very prominent circle, is green and labeled by the account name wellandhealthy. There are multiple clusters and a lot of variation in sizes that showcase multiple differentiating conversations regarding the topic. The size of the circle represents the frequency of the hashtag and its related conversation. The biggest channel, wellandhealthy, connects to mostly smaller individual channels. Whereas the remaining clusters seem to have bigger channels communicating with each other and individuals. The remaining channels that lie out of the main conversation seem to either have a connection with one or a few other channels, or no connections at all.
As said before, wellandhealthy is the biggest subgroup and thus has the highest frequency. Wellandhealthy is owned by a female inspiration blogger why identifies as a mom, entrepreneur and public servant. The content on her channel is mainly made up out of inspirational quotes and pictures which are mostly health related. It showcases a lot of empowerment quotes, healthy food pictures and before and after shot of people who’ve lost weight. This account has many one- and two-way communication lines with other individuals responding to her posts and her replying. Wellandhealthy does not seem to have connections with other bigger subgroups.
The 3 purple channels seem to be generally bigger than the others. They do not communicate directly with each other but seem to respond or have some connections with the same individual channels.
The same goes for the dark brown, light brown, turquoise and orange cluster. The gray clusters surround the colored groups do not engage with them but seem to have they own connections with each other. Some seem to work like a chain in which one responds to another and another person’s responds to that. Two-way connections can also be within the gray group. It is not just one person responding to a lot of other but instead, a lot of communications between the three participators. This means that there is not just one channel discussing the #Allbodiesaregoodbodies, but also individual channels communication about/with the #Allbodiesaregoodbodies.
the same goes for the red group in which bigger edges can be observed that show clear communication connections between them. The blue circle, however, seems to one have a one-way connection with other individuals. These smaller groups are owned by people that also identify themselves instead of commercial channels. They are personal users that communicate using #Allbodiesaregoodbodies.
Wellandhealthy seems to be the only channel that is used as a “commercial” channel instead of a personal one. Thus that shows that there is a lot of conversation going around between individuals instead of larger channels pointing the hashtag out and having its followers respond to it.
The graph above shows the different accounts, founded by research on Instagram, the well known social networking platform. The clusters describe the interactions that the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards have within the platform and the numerous connections between the accounts regarding the keyword researched. It is possible to identify 7 main colors: green, orange, dark green, blue, purple, red, black and gray. The most evident are the colors dark green, which has connections with other clusters as well. The graphs, in the overall, identify a lot of interactivity among the hashtag chosen, and many edges, which shows many connections between the accounts.
In the bottom left corner, it is possible to identify the main cluster. named by the account @amandamonty and colored by dark green. It can be seen that the cluster interconnects with many other accounts, which shows a lot of interactivity among the users of the hashtag analyzed.
The account in question comes from a woman who is a style blogger, a columnist for the Huffington post, Canada style and lives in Toronto. The main statement on her account that can be found is that there is a style for all sizes.
In addition, the orange clusters show an interesting interconnection. There is a high interaction between all of three main clusters, which are all connected. The accounts ILPBBGZ, ILPBBGZ1, and hulk3.16 are active accounts that are all about body positivity and are trying to stop body shaming. The first two promote plus size girls by featuring them on their Instagram, the last one is an account that is focussed on stopping body shaming, but in the link, it becomes clear that it is connected to the first two. The accounts that these interact with the most are accounts from Vogue, Huffington post, Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail. It is possible to see that these three main clusters connect with a numerous amount of minor ones, which proves that this community is actively engaging with the hashtag researched.
The green cluster, on the right side, is focussed on the accounts @Jessica_jaycox, @bbwsupremacy2 and @bbw_greatest_hits. The account from @Jessica_Jaycox is from a personal user who promotes body positivity and shows that on her account by using videos and pictures. The account @bbwsupremacy2 focuses on big women and features those on their website as well. As is stated on their Instagram page, it is a shout out to plus size women and BBW.
Furthermore, @bbw_greatest_hits is an 18+ account, that features women’s pictures from other accounts to promote their body image.In the picture, the women show off their breasts or bums in order to create awareness and empowerment for the plus size community. As it can be seen, @bbw_worshipper_2 is another account that has a strong interaction with @bbw_greatest_hits. It clearly states that the pictures are featured and might be erotic in nature. As the graph shows, there is a lot of interaction between these four accounts.
When comparing the Instagram accounts with each other, it can be seen that they are all rather similar and that they keep a constant interaction. The only account that stands out from this is @Jessica_Jaycox.
Regarding blue clusters, @plussizedivagirls is the biggest one seen. The Instagram accounts of the clusters colored in blue are run by 6 bloggers who post and repost pictures of plussize women. Next to that, the biggest node is an account that publishes posts of other accounts on Instagram. It is not completely clear what the connection is between the two. After looking up the account (@repostapp), it became clear that it is an account that is not used very much, with only 12 pictures, and one can assume that this page is not real. Moreover, all the accounts that are connected with this user are all having a high amount of followers with extremely low content on the page itself. Therefore, with exception of the @plussizedivagirls account, this cluster is not of high relevance to our research.
The last cluster in this screenshot is the one where @Madamxxl is the biggest distributor of content. The account belongs to Ekaterina Kovratskaya who is a fashion blogger. It is interesting to see the link between the accounts. The two that stand out are the @effyourbeautystandards and @plusmodelmag. The first one was created by Tess Holiday and it is the account behind the hashtag. The latter is a magazine that focuses on plussize models. On their Instagram, they feature everything about being plus size, from models to fashion trends. As part of their social media marketing, they came up with the hashtag #celebratemysize.
The pink cluster in the top left corner is another Instagram account who makes use of the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards. Like the others, this is an account that promotes and shows fashion in the plus size industry. The account is meant to inspire the plus size women in what she can wear. Connections are made to the account of Shamari82, who was featured on the Instagram, and Cocoscurvycloset, who was also featured there. Both accounts are pro-plus size women and are promoting this phenomenon.
The purple cluster shows a different interest compared to the others. In this cluster, most of the active accounts who use the hashtag, are accounts from make-up artists. There is a lot of interaction with the account of Anastasiabeverlyhills, which is the official account of the make-up brand. It can be assumed that the women who post the pictures, are using the products and tag the brand in it, in order to have its recognition and to gain more attention. Furthermore, when looking into the other nodes, which are connected to the big ones, other make-up brands become apparent. It is clear that the minor accounts are connecting to the major ones, for promotion purposes only.
However, all the make-up artists who are interacting with each other and the brands are using the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards.
Lastly, the black cluster is the account that belongs to Emily. She is just a regular user of Instagram, which means that she does not particularly promote plus size women. However, according to her pictures, she is part of the plus size community and she uses the hashtag as well on her pictures. Indirectly, her account is connected to the account of curvy.be, which is another account that features plus size models on their page. This account is connected to a Facebook page where they promote that curves are beautiful.
The graph made with Gephi is the results of the interconnection within the social media platform Instagram regarding the hashtag #HonorMyCurves. The main clusters, colored with black blue and red, are the ones which show the highest activity on Instagram regarding the hashtag #HonorMyCurves.
In a more detailed section of the graph, we can see five many main nodes, colored with five different colors: blue, pink, purple, black and gray.
The node Barbaracaribe, colored in blue, is one of the biggest subgroups that uses the hashtag #honormycurves. The account described is a fashion blogger from Brazil, but also a plus size model. It can be seen that the account has many edges and is connected to other nodes which use the same hashtag with a less frequency.
In addition, the subgroup with the color black follow the same phenomena. The account called Martiipal is a fashion blogger from Italy. It is possible to see that the node connects and is connected with many other nodes that consequently may or may not use the hashtag researched in a less frequent way.
Regarding the gray nodes, it is possible to identify many edges between them. As those nodes are also a big community, although the frequency of their involvement regarding the hashtag taken to consideration, is not high. Many groups of nodes are separate from the many clusters, which suggests that the nodes have some similarities but do not reach within the community.
Furthermore, one will notice that the purple nodes are connected in a different way: there are three main nodes that use the hashtag #honomycurves more often and are all interconnected with smaller nodes of the same color. The nodes are very interactive and are the second largest group within the overall graph. The bigger nodes (carolinaplussize, brimarqz and pureivorydotca) are all plus size model, which promote body positivity and acceptance. Since their followers are many, their edges show a lot of interconnections with other accounts using the same hashtag.
From this third perspective of the graph, it is possible to notice a representative dark green node, on the top right, separated from the other main nodes. The node shows activities between the subnodes and the main one, but no connections with the other colored nodes. The same is possible to be seen with the other gray nodes around the central focus of the graph. This means that there is a lot of activity around the hashtag #honoryourcurves, but not always interconnected by edges.
This last graph shows the presence of a subgroup of nodes in green, which are a community without any connection with the main and central nodes of the graph. The interactivity between the green nodes is substantial, and the number of the main nodes that spread to the smaller ones are several, therefore there is a lot of interactivity and connections regarding the hashtag searched and the nodes themselves.
In the graph shown above we can see the results of the interconnection of the hashtag #celebratemysize on Instagram Within the biggest clusters, the gray and the purple cluster, it shows you that these are the clusters with a very high activity with the #celebratemysize hashtag and then the pink and turquoise clusters show the lowest.
Looking at the purple nodes, we can see that the biggest circle, called Martiipal is the biggest subgroup that uses the hashtag #celebratemysize. The account described is an Italian blogger who identifies herself as a plus size women who positively celebrates all sizes. Within the green group, which is also a large cluster, it is also clear that there is a lot of interaction between the nodes who also all go by a name related to the hashtag celebrate my size like ‘fashionpolis’,’plusmodelmag’ and ‘fullfiguredfashion’.
For the other large subgroups, the graph shows that the gray nodes also make up one big cluster, yet it is different than the green and purple cluster. Within the gray nodes you can see that, although it has a lot of nodes, the frequency of their interaction is not as high as the other clusters. You can see this by the distance between the nodes which means that even though they might have some similarities they do not reach within this particular community.
Another large subgroup is the blue group. Within the blue group, there is also one big node that interacts with the other smaller nodes. The account that is linked to the big node is called ‘styleandcurve’ and it is an account from a magazine that posts empowering images for and of plus sized women.
The graph above illustrates who uses the hashtag #bodypositive the most in their Twitter posts, and which accounts pick up on this hashtag and interact with it as well. Each color in the graph represents a new conversation with a different group of Twitter users, the same color circles are all linked together, and the linkage is visualized through edges that start at the account that started sharing the hashtag #bodypositive.
Every circle in the graph portrays is a cluster, and it portrays a conversation between sources and targets. The biggest clusters are indicated with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and purple. The bigger the cluster, the higher the amount of the interactions. All clusters have a direct engagement with their targets, and the different clusters don’t have any correlation between them. Most of the clusters in this analytic have many similarities and are in some way connected to each other, however, there is also an orange cluster which seems to be apart from the other clusters.
Zooming into the lower section of the graph, one will notice three main clusters. Cluster red, cluster indigo, and cluster purple. The red cluster is the most active group of our sample. This activity has been initiated by Twitter user Nightbloodheda. This user is from the United States and is a dedicated fan account for the American drama teen-show Teen Wolf. This user posts many pictures and short videos of the actors with a positive manner and #Bodypositive has been found 39 times in her posts.
The indigo cluster portrays user Marcird as the source of this hashtag. Approximately 19 people have reposted their post in regards to #Bodypositivity. In her posts, she mostly talks about her clients, how she enjoys helping them, and how one’s weight doesn’t reflect who someone really is. From her posts, we can conclude that she stands for body positivity, and she spreads positive quotes about body image.
From all clusters in this graph, cluster purple that’s involved with user Bodypositiv3, is the smallest. This user has dedicated her entire profile to #bodypositivity and other related hashtags such as #Bodyposi and #Nudebodyposi. In the analysis, she has 11 mentions. The cluster is a bit further away from other clusters, which means that she has few similarities with the other clusters that are close to each other.
In the illustration above we can see the top section of the graph, which includes yet again 3 main clusters from the analysis. The biggest cluster belongs to user Ibansaram. This user is pro-nudism and pro-body positivity movement. A difference between many other users is that this user also promotes body positivity among males, which hasn’t received as much attention as body positivity for females.
The next cluster is the yellow one with user Reesdaniels. Despite having a small following, she has been mentioned 17 times in the analysis. In addition to #bodypositivity, she also focusses more on black women. This could be a possible explanation as to why the cluster is all the way on top because, within the movement, she predominantly supports black women and their bodies.
The last cluster in this section is the blue cluster from user Nedastaff. Nedastaff is a support group for individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Their use of #bodypositivity pairs with #bodyimage and #eatingdisorders. They focus mostly on activism and creating awareness about eating disorders, rather than posting pictures of women who are happy with their body, like the rest of the movement.
After finalizing our data scraping research, we can conclude a couple of noticeable things about the involvement of the appearance of women on the internet. First of all, the most active groups of people who spread these hashtags are mostly bloggers, vloggers, writers, columnists, overall people with a large following. They dominate most of the biggest clusters and associate with the movement. Second of all, our research shows that the movement is active globally, and not just in the United States. The demographics are very diverse, from Italian, Spanish and Brazilian bloggers, to Canadian columnists and American dieticians. Furthermore, these hashtags all portray a positive outlook on plus size women and the fact that there is nothing to be ashamed of when being overweight. So, while fitness bloggers or health accounts mostly encourage to lose weight, this movement supports plus size women regarding their appearance, that they should be proud of who they are. So both types of accounts want people to be comfortable with themselves, but what is distinguishing them is one supports a healthy lifestyle, while the other supports a healthy way of thinking about oneself.
Besides the accounts who support plus size women in general, there are also a couple of accounts who focus on subcategories, like black women or men. However, the hashtags are predominantly used for and by women.