Sandra Hanchard is a PhD candidate at The Swinburne Institute, Swinburne University of Technology. Previously Sandra was Senior Analyst at global Internet measurement firm, Experian Hitwise covering trends in online behaviour in Asia Pacific. She worked with several prominent brands to identify opportunities for online business growth. Sandra authored numerous whitepapers covering commercial and non-profit industries and her commentary was widely quoted in the mainstream and trade press.
The Internet is for many people a domestic tool in how they conduct their everyday lives (Bakardjieva, 2010). The generative nature of the Internet (Zittrain 2008) is manifest in a range of utilities such as e-commerce, government and community services, entertainment, news, consumer research and social networking. Both online and offline activity is strongly linked and Internet access is arguably now a prerequisite for people to participate effectively in society. My thesis investigates how the Internet is used in the everyday lives of Malaysians; specifically how users share information on social networks and the derived benefits they gain. Major themes include the determination of ‘quality’ information, the strength of ‘weak ties’ in networks (Granovetter 1973) and usage differences across major ethnic and socioeconomic groups. The empirical basis of my study is a combination of surveys to determine values attached to shared information and commercial measurement techniques to track behaviour on a large scale.