Saturday, October 17, 2009

Social networking and social class

Social classImage via Wikipedia

From CNN: Does your social class determine your online social network?
Is there a class divide online? Research suggests yes. A recent study by market research firm Nielsen Claritas found that people in more affluent demographics are 25 percent more likely to be found friending on Facebook, while the less affluent are 37 percent more likely to connect on MySpace.

This is supposed to surprise us? If the opposite were true I would be surprised. Why would we expect our online world to not reflect the same sort of social concerns that we see in the physical world? We're going to leave all this baggage behind by waving a social media magic wand?

There is a lesson here. If you value the richness to be found in diversity, you might want to branch out of your comfortable social networking spaces. Get out on the edge a little bit. If the only place you ever go is Facebook you're not going to find much diversity. Your world is more likely to look like a suburban strip-mall than a vibrant suk.

I find little conversation concerning diversity in social networks. The conversation needs to be elevated to another level. If all our followers and friends are just like us our world is going to be a bit myopic and boring.

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Bud Gibson said...

What you're saying presupposes FB is not diverse or at least not diverse relative to a given individual's other social milieux. Well, that may not be the case at all.

For instance, my FB milieu is much more diverse than the one I inhabit on a day-to-day basis.

Kevin Gamble said...

I buy that. We may have more diversity online, but it's still an issue.

My Facebook SN (before I toasted nearly everyone) was not as diverse as it is on FriendFeed and Twitter. That may be a function of the required reciprocity that doesn't exist in FF and Twitter. It's easier to be exposed to more diverse viewpoints as you can lurk.