Six interesting facts about social networking

A few interesting facts about Social Networking Services (mainly Facebook) taken from the recent report issued on June 16 2011 by PEW Internet and American Life. The report, whose title is Social networking sites and our lives is authored by Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions Goulet, Lee Rainie, Kristen Purcell. Food for thought.

Fact #1: The average age of adult SNS users is now 38.

Sure, as user base increases, the gen Y is ‘caught up’ by gen X-ers, Baby Boomers and the like…

Fact #2: 26% of SNS members are now aged more than 50 (vs. 16% aged 18-22)

Definitely the ‘digital immigrants’ are catching up big time. But this was already clear from the 2009 Generations online Pew Report.


Friendship changes, but 'friending' stays the same across cultures

Following in Judith Donath and dana boyd’s researches on online friendship and drawing on social network analysis of tie formation, this Hui-Jung Chang article sets up to detect cross-cultural variations in ‘friending’ between a US-based service (Myspace) and a Taiwan one (Wretch).
Hui-Jung Chang (2010). Social networking friendships: A cross-cultural comparison of network structure between MySpace and Wretch Journal of Cultural Science, 3 (2).

Understandably, Taiwanese and US cultures have different approaches to friendship. The author characterizes Taiwan as a more collectivistic culture where explicit messages and content exchange are less important that  the context (all the information either coded in the physical setting or internalized in the person) for establishing who’s your friend. US, on the other side, is defined as a “low-context”, individualistic culture [note: pictures are just random. Neither peace sign nor thumbs up in photos appear to bear any significant effect on friendship formation]. Consequently, Hui-Jung Chang formulates the hypothesis that Taiwanese offline friends networks are larger and denser. Does the same apply to online networks?