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Social media and social divisions

Does the internet – social media in particular – act as a unifier? Apparently not, according to several researchers. Instead, social media amplifies existing social structures. Or, as danah boyd states, “pervasive social stratification is being reified in a new era”. Technology doesn’t (immediately) alter human nature. It provides new views (mirrors) for seeing what we are. The desire to associate with people who share our beliefs, values, and economic conditions, migrates to new social spaces – digital or physical.

2 Comments

  1. Edie Woods wrote:

    Thanks for the link. I teach social psychology online to community college students, and this article will be a great springboard to our discussions of affiliation and the factors leading to the development of in-groups and out-groups.

    Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  2. Jon K. wrote:

    The idea that the internet is a unifier is an odd one… what about the internet is so different that it would fundamentally change how we view others? So to expect that a new, more instantaneous method of communicating would change social structures is probably a bit pie in the sky. That doesn’t mean it can’t begin to engage the dialogue that might help change things, just it won’t be as instantaneous as we expect the internet to be.

    Monday, July 13, 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink