Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Homophily: Real World and Online

Based on my own experiences of growing up as a minority, all of these articles were just a recall of my past.  I can agree that access to the internet does not mean there is equality in its use.  In Understanding Mobile Lives..., Watkins says "A 2009 report by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) titled, “Digital Nation: 21st Century America’s Progress Toward Universal Broadband Internet Access,” found that broadband households tend to be younger, white or Asian, highly-educated, married, and with higher incomes."  I understand this because growing up not many of my friends had internet. 

While I was busy meeting white kids online, it was rare to chat with other black kids.  It wasn't until high school when more of my peers had broadband internet.  Before, they would use school to access internet since it wasn't seen as a necessity in their homes("The primary reasons are “don’t need/not interested” and “too expensive.” In all likelihood black and Latino kids live in homes that can not afford the internet versus homes that are simply not interested." -Watkins). 

I've even noticed many black people I've friended on Facebook have Metro PCS (the company logo shows up when they upload pics) since social networking is so important to our society.  It's clearly better to be late in the game and have a pre-paid package like Metro PCS than to be left out in the world.

I also agreed with danah boyd's homophily theory.  In my experience, sites fade like any fashion.  I'd been using Tumblr forever.  However it seemed like in a certain week, my sister, cousin, and their friends all jumped on.  One of the teens boyd interviewed mentioned preferring Facebook over Myspace because the Top 8 creates a divide.  Someone created an application on Facebook for top friends, but it slowly faded away.

My concern is that the divide will only get worse.  Nothing will bring all people together unless we force ourselves to do it, and in person.  Not even technology can help this one.  Even in our class, this connection falls flat.  We all have things in common.  We're UM-D students, and we're all in JASS 403.  We tweet for class, but how many of us really connect with one another?  There is still a divide because we only network with those we know or need to know who have multiple similarities to us.


  1. "We tweet for class, but how many of us really connect with one another? There is still a divide because we only network with those we know or need to know who have multiple similarities to us."

    While that's true, it's a little absurd to think everyone just wants to hold hands. The reason I think many of our classmates don't connect beyond what's required is because of our prior commitments. Many of us probably view tweeting as a chore, and these blog posts as insightful, but purely academic. Already having friends and family to stay in touch with, many of us simply wanted to focus on what we already have been fortunate to have. It is great to meet new people and try new things, but the reality is that there are only 24 hours in a day.

  2. I agree with the idea that sites are like fads and that their usage often fades. I think this is one of the big reasons with MySpace usage dropped off. I don't believe whites were necessarily fleeing because minorities and lower income people started using it more, but rather because Facebook was just better. MySpace got the ball rolling with social networking, but Facebook took what they did and expanded on it. As the MySpace fad faded, Facebook, a new social networking site with drastically improved graphical design and organizational setup, was simply the next logical step.