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Birds of a feather flock together online: digital inequality in social media repertoires


Horvát, Emőke-Ágnes; Hargittai, Eszter (2021). Birds of a feather flock together online: digital inequality in social media repertoires. Social Media and Society, 7(4):14.

Abstract

Communication has long been concerned with people’s media repertoires, yet little of this approach has extended to the combination of social media platforms that people use. Despite their considerable popularity, research has found that people do not select into the use of social network sites (SNSs) randomly, which has implications for both whose voices are represented on them and where messaging can reach diverse people. While prior work has considered self-selection into one SNS, in this article we ask: how are different SNSs linked by user base? Using national survey data about 1,512 US adults’ social media uses, we build networks between SNSs that connect SNS pairs by user base. We examine patterns by subgroups of users along the lines of age, gender, education, and Internet skills finding considerable variation in SNS associations by these variables. This has implications for big data analyses that depend on data from particular social media platforms. It also offers helpful lessons for how to reach different population segments when trying to communicate to diverse audiences.

Abstract

Communication has long been concerned with people’s media repertoires, yet little of this approach has extended to the combination of social media platforms that people use. Despite their considerable popularity, research has found that people do not select into the use of social network sites (SNSs) randomly, which has implications for both whose voices are represented on them and where messaging can reach diverse people. While prior work has considered self-selection into one SNS, in this article we ask: how are different SNSs linked by user base? Using national survey data about 1,512 US adults’ social media uses, we build networks between SNSs that connect SNS pairs by user base. We examine patterns by subgroups of users along the lines of age, gender, education, and Internet skills finding considerable variation in SNS associations by these variables. This has implications for big data analyses that depend on data from particular social media platforms. It also offers helpful lessons for how to reach different population segments when trying to communicate to diverse audiences.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:070 News media, journalism & publishing
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Cultural Studies
Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Physical Sciences > Computer Science Applications
Uncontrolled Keywords:platform associations, social media adoption, social network sites, media repertoires, survey, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram
Language:English
Date:28 October 2021
Deposited On:03 Jan 2022 13:46
Last Modified:25 Feb 2024 02:51
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:2056-3051
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051211052897
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)