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robertogreco : homophily   16

[1004.4704] Homophily and Contagion Are Generically Confounded in Observational Social Network Studies
"We consider processes on social networks that can potentially involve three factors: homophily, or the formation of social ties due to matching individual traits; social contagion, also known as social influence; and the causal effect of an individual's covariates on their behavior or other measurable responses. We show that, generically, all of these are confounded with each other. Distinguishing them from one another requires strong assumptions on the parametrization of the social process or on the adequacy of the covariates used (or both). In particular we demonstrate, with simple examples, that asymmetries in regression coefficients cannot identify causal effects, and that very simple models of imitation (a form of social contagion) can produce substantial correlations between an individual's enduring traits and their choices, even when there is no intrinsic affinity between them. We also suggest some possible constructive responses to these results."

[See also: ]
homophily  contagion  via:vruba  networks  2010  cosmarhillashalizi  andrewthomas  social  socialties  socialcontagion  affinity 
february 2015 by robertogreco
What Determines Whether a School Has Mean Girls? -- Science of Us
"The hierarchical high school of John Hughes’s movies and Mean Girls is ubiquitous in pop culture, but it is not universal in real life. A new study finds that some schools — based on their size, organizational structure, and academic climate — are more likely to foster cliques than others.

Cliques form because people are often attracted to people of the same race, class, gender, and age as themselves — this is not a novel idea, and in sociology, this concept is called homophily (“love of the same”). But Daniel McFarland, an education professor at Stanford and the lead author of the study, discovered that this tendency to segregate is much more prevalent in large schools and schools that provide students with more academic freedom. A news release about the study explains: “Schools that offer students more choice — more elective courses, more ways to complete requirements, a bigger range of potential friends, more freedom to select seats in a classroom — are more likely to be rank-ordered, cliquish, and segregated.

McFarland, whose study will be published in December in American Sociological Review, said in a phone interview that in college, when he and his peers would reflect on high school, some recalled segregated, hierarchical social scenes, while others remembered much more egalitarian environments. “Everyone had a different version of what adolescent society was like,” he said, and so he and his co-authors were interested in comparing different high schools, to see how students’ networks were shaped by the organization of their school.

The researchers used two data sets for the study: one to examine friendships on the classroom level, and the other to explore schoolwide relationships. The classroom-level data set compared two extremely different schools. One was a traditional, tracked, Midwestern high school made up of mostly white students. The other was a magnet school in a “distressed” neighborhood of a large city that was diverse along racial and economic lines, but “homogenous in achievement.”

For the schoolwide study, an existing data set was used that, among many other survey questions, asked thousands of adolescents at 144 different schools about their friendships. The reason for two data sets, McFarland explained, was to determine if the students formed similar networks in their classes as they did throughout the entire school. “A friend in class seems to be a fairweather friend, a weaker tie,” he said.

McFarland and his team found that in contrast with the larger, more flexible schools, schools with a more rigid academic atmosphere usually fostered friendships based on intellectual interests and common activities. (This was true both on the classroom level and on a schoolwide level.) Throughout the study, large schools are often equated with less rigid schools, because most of these more stringent institutions were private schools, and thus were smaller.

Because smaller schools inherently offered a smaller pool of potential friends, they also limited friendships based on “external” criteria (race, gender, status, etc. ... ). To some degree, this is intuitive: There are fewer friends to choose from, so excluding people becomes riskier.

The takeaway, McFarland said, is that “the way we organize schools will have repercussions” for students’ interpersonal relationships. Teachers and administrators may think they cannot influence their students’ social fabric, but they can. Schools can “indirectly direct” the way that social networks form, by providing more or fewer choices for students. This influence can be used to promote student friendships across intellectual or academic commonalities, rather than external traits. McFarland thinks this knowledge can be used for the better: By designing schools that encourage students to associate based on common interests, we can avoid “creating boundaries that correspond with inequities that already exist in society.”

McFarland cautioned against concluding from this study that a small, rigid school is best for all students. Throughout this research, he grew concerned that “the prescription seemed to be layering all sorts of forced activities so we prevent all of these castes. I don’t think that’s necessarily what we want.” He even declined to say definitively that cliques are harmful to students’ development. (There are plenty of “folk theories” about this, he said, but not enough actual empirical evidence.)

McFarland believes that educators can still learn a great deal from these findings about organizing schools and curricula, even if more research still needs to be done. He said that teachers and administrators must now aim to find a curriculum “that encourages students to associate based on intellectual interests that span gender, race, and class.” Because, McFarland said, “Most reasonable people know that that isn’t a good basis for forming a relationship.””
2014  cliques  homophily  schools  segregation  ranking  electives  davidmcfarland  meangirls  behavior  scheduling 
november 2014 by robertogreco
danah boyd | apophenia » Is Facebook Destroying the American College Experience?
"What most students (and parents) fail to realize is that the success of the American college system has less to do with the quality of the formal education than it does with the social engineering project that is quietly enacted behind the scenes each year. Roommates are structured to connect incoming students with students of different backgrounds. Dorms are organized to cross-breed the cultural diversity that exists on campus. Early campus activities are designed to help people encounter people whose approach to the world is different than theirs. This process has a lot of value because it means that students develop an appreciation for difference and build meaningful relationships that will play a significant role for years to come. The friendships and connections that form on campuses shape future job opportunities and help create communities that change the future. We hear about famous college roommates as exemplars. Heck, Facebook itself was created by a group of Harvard roommates. But the more basic story is how people learn to appreciate difference, often by suffering through the challenges of entering college together."

"Getting to know people whose life stories seem so foreign is hard. And yet, such relationship building across lines of difference can also be tremendously transformative."

[Goes well with: and ]
danahboyd  education  highered  highereducation  socialengineering  diversity  facebook  homophily  difference  culture  culturaldiversity  empath  learning  tcsnmy  dorms  housing  trends  2013 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Columnist - Riders on the Storm -
"This study suggests that Internet users are a bunch of ideological Jack Kerouacs. They’re not burrowing down into comforting nests. They’re cruising far and wide looking for adventure, information, combat and arousal. This does not mean they are not polarized. Looking at a site says nothing about how you process it or the character of attention you bring to it. It could be people spend a lot of time at their home sites and then go off on forays looking for things to hate. But it probably does mean they are not insecure and they are not sheltered.
davidbrooks  serendipity  web  online  internet  politics  polarization  segregation  integration  commons  ideology  exposure  fragmentation  socialmedia  connectivity  offline  homophily  2010  networks  blogs  blogging 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Ideological Segregation Online and Offline
"We use individual and aggregate data to ask how the Internet is changing the ideological segregation of the American electorate. Focusing on online news consumption, offline news consumption, and face-to-face social interactions, we define ideological segregation in each domain using standard indices from the literature on racial segregation. We find that ideological segregation of online news consumption is low in absolute terms, higher than the segregation of most offline news consumption, and significantly lower than the segregation of face-to-face interactions with neighbors, co-workers, or family members. We find no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time." [via:]
fragmentation  2010  segregation  socialmedia  homophily  politics  internet  networks  ideology  research  serendipity  connectivity  web  online  offline  f2f 
may 2010 by robertogreco
"Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media"
If folks are going to try to get in-flow with information, we need to understand how information flows differently today. Let me highlight four challenges, points where technological hope and reality collide. Four Core Issues: 1. Democratization. 2. Stimulation. 3. Homiphily 4. Power."
flow  danahboyd  twitter  attention  homophily  socialmedia  network  internet  web  social  research  web2.0  information  continuouspartialattention  networks  streams  media  content  power  democratization 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media ~ Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes
""For the longest time," writes danah boyd, "we have focused on sites of information as a destination, of accessing information as a process, of producing information as a task. What happens when all of this changes? While things are certainly clunky at best, this is the promise land of the technologies we're creating... This metaphor is powerful. The idea is that you're living inside the stream: adding to it, consuming it, redirecting it. The stream metaphor is about reaching flow. It's also about restructuring the ways in which information flows in modern society."
danahboyd  stephendownes  flow  information  socialmedia  media  power  democracy  homophily  clustering  reaction  stimulation  access  reflection 
november 2009 by robertogreco
…My heart’s in Accra » John Hagel on serendipity
"I’m interested in questions of how we stumble onto information and ideas we’d be unlikely to find within our present sphere of weak ties. One possibility is to radically expand that circle of weak ties - start paying attention to the perspectives and opinions of people far outside our realms of ordinary experience. This isn’t easy to do - it tends to require the assistance of bridge figures, who’ve got connections to our circles and to very different circles. I also wonder whether serendipity always needs to focus on personal connection - I think we often get serendipity from media, from pop culture, from news. All that said, I like Hagel’s idea that we can change environments to increase serendipity."
ethanzuckerman  johnhagel  serendipity  homophily  online  media  information  trends  weakties  crosspollination  discovery  inspiration  casualconnections  change  informallearning  via:preoccupations 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Homophily in Social Software - O'Reilly Radar
"The Washington Post has a brief article called "Why Everyone You Know Thinks The Same As You". In short, you hang out with people who are like you, a phenomenon known as homophily. This happens online, and indeed the Internet can lower the costs of finding people like you. But homophily raises the question for social software designers of how much they should encourage homophily and how much they want to mix it up."
homophily  socialnetworking  via:adamgreenfield  socialsoftware  browsing  serendipity 
december 2008 by robertogreco
…My heart’s in Accra » Homophily, serendipity, xenophilia
“Homophily can make you stupid…[I]t’s possible to miss huge trends, changes and opportunities by talking solely to people who agree with you…xenophiles are uniquely equipped to thrive in a globalizing world"
journalism  homophily  media  internet  culture  serendipity  ethanzuckerman  global  empathy  citizenjournalism  activism  xenophobia  xenophily 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Artichoke: Edu_conferences: Just looking for an excuse to be together
"It all makes me wonder if the best outcomes for interaction (and Downes’ networking) will come from those edu_conferences where we don’t take the conference itself or the inherent power hierarchies of keynoters, spotlighters, presenters and attendees too seriously.

Conferences where we give ourselves fully to the first person we meet by the coffee urn, or in the smokers hideout, at the conference dinner, or outside in the conference venue lobby who challenges our thinking, disagrees or offers feedback – where this moment of direct encounter (that we hold onto), attracts others – attracts Sidorkins curious third, and fourth and fifth other … Conferences “Where to be yourself is all that you can do”.

What would we blog about then?"
conferences  education  learning  homophily  interaction  networks  groups  artichokeblog  pamhook 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Sidorkin The Pedagogy of The Interhuman
"We educators, teachers, and parents take the job of upbringing too seriously. Schooling should, in reality, just be an excuse for human beings to get together. What we really should do is to give ourselves fully to the children, to catch that simple mome
education  learning  parenting  teaching  children  schools  curriculum  groups  networks  social  sociology  psychology  neighborhoods  utopia  homophily 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Do not localize – make your own - FLOSSE Posse
"Content is infrastructure only when it is made locally. The key is not localizing some existing content but doing unique local content. To produce local content you need access to other resources starting from local oral tradition to written documents an
content  localization  infrastructure  education  conferences  contribution  wikis  wikipedia  wikimedia  homophily 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: Homophily and Association
"Finding reflective connections is more difficult. We do not have automated back-propagation and Boltzmann mechanisms on the internet - it's possible that we won't be able to. Right now, the only mechanisms we have are messy things like conferences and ch
homophily  networks  groups  internet  online  socialsoftware  socialnetworks  theory  psychology  association  relationships 
october 2007 by robertogreco
SocialTech: The limits of homophily
"what we miss by reinforcing homophily as the prime directive online. To give a pretty flip example, I don't have a huge amount of friends over at, but I certainly don't want to make friends with anyone who listens to exactly the same music as I d
homophily  socialsoftware  networks  groups  behavior  human  social  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  learning  diversity 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Artichoke: Bogong Moths in Sydney, Starlings in Rome and Edu_Bloggers at Conferences
"We enjoy a flutter of moths, and a murmuration of starlings .... so what would fit best for a collection of like minded homophilic bloggers ..."
comments  education  edubloggers  blogging  conferences  sharedexperience  homophily  collective  behavior  groups  starlings  words  organizations  teaching  artichokeblog  pamhook 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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