Typing together? Clustering of ideological types in online social networks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the brief span of only a few years, the Facebook social networking site has emerged as a central forum for social interaction and communication. The fact that Facebook members may well be rich in "virtual social capital" could be important news from the standpoint of political engagement and mobilization, and, more broadly, in terms of the content and patterns of social interaction. In this article, we discuss the significance of the Facebook phenomenon for scholarship on social networks. A brief introduction to Facebook is presented, along with an assessment of the benefits and limitations inherent in research regarding Facebook networks. We then report some preliminary analyses of small samples from those networks. Drawing on past research regarding face-to-face social relationships, we examine whether online linkages possess some of the central characteristics common in more traditional forms of networks. Specifically, we focus on whether there are signs of clustering by Facebook members according to their political views, and whether the effects of tie strength observed in other forms of networks also are in evidence on Facebook.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-231
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Information Technology and Politics
Volume6
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

Keywords

  • Facebook
  • Political ideology
  • Social networks
  • Social ties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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