No Homophily on Facebook? Yeah, right.

The New York Times attends to Facebook. The article makes a fun read, and is not a very deep one (not that I expect deep analysis – they’re writing pieces against deadlines there – oh wait, so do we). But at least one incredible claim is made that is not even backed up with their usual “random quote from researcher”, and seems to stem right from Facebook’s PR book:

Uniting disparate groups on a single Internet service runs counter to 50 years of research by sociologists into what is known as “homophily” — the tendency of individuals to associate only with like-minded people of similar age and ethnicity.

Beh! Wait a minute here. Facebook does indeed allow one to at least attempt to connect to people not similar to them — like any electronic network since Email. Is there any evidence that these connections are attempted? whether they are successful? whether this happens in any scale beyond Facebook’s “model stories for journalists”? (key quote: “Discussing Facebook’s connective tissue, Mr. Zuckerberg recalls the story…”). I’d be surprised.

On the other hand, Ayman is my friend on Facebook, so anything is possible!

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