I need to find the source of this. Careless of me not to given the importance of what is being said. This implies that the notion of like minds gathering online in social networks is a bad thing. That it inclines on the one hand to conformity or to extremes of point of view with ‘gaps’ in what I would call the ‘normal’ range.
Quote 16 May 11
Social networks tend to disproportionately favor connections between people with either similar or dissimilar characteristics.
This isn’t a spread, but suggests that people are drawn together by their being alike or being very different. i.e. they are unrepresentative of society or communities.
This propensity, referred to as assortative mixing or homophily, is expressed as the correlation between attribute values of nearest neighbour vertices in a graph.
Recent results show that beyond demographic features such as age, sex and race, even psychological states such as “loneliness” can be assortative in a social network.
This was clear 1999-2004 when I was most active on blog platform Diaryland; it was a community of the lonely and depressed. Outsiders and social outcast had found a place to gather.
In spite of the increasing societal importance of online social networks it is unknown whether assortative mixing of psychological states takes place in situations where social ties are mediated solely by online networking services in the absence of physical contact.
Here, we show that general happiness or Subjective Well-Being (SWB) of Twitter users, as measured from a 6 month record of their individual tweets, is indeed assortative across the Twitter social network. To our knowledge this is the first result that shows assortative mixing in online networks at the level of SWB.
Our results imply that online social networks may be equally subject to the social mechanisms that cause assortative mixing in real social networks and that such assortative mixing takes place at the level of SWB.
Given the increasing prevalence of online social networks, their propensity to connect users with similar levels of SWB may be an important instrument in better understanding how both positive and negative sentiments spread through online social ties.
Future research may focus on how event-specific mood states can propagate and influence user behavior in “real life”. — [1103.0784] Happiness is assortative in online social networks
We need everyone out there if everyone is going to be represented.