The Rise of Digital Flocks in the Modern Era

(Photo by Lachlan Gowen on Unsplash, https://unsplash.com/photos/ITG–4eByrY)

Contributions to Connection Satisfaction

One of the major factors that contribute to the feeling of being connected on social media platforms is the sense of belonging. The idea is that while physically people could be geographically separated from other like minded people that barrier is removed in the digital realm. As mentioned by Saul McLeod in regards to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, “The third level of human needs is social and involves feelings of belongingness” (McLeod, 2018). This leads on to the next factor while following Maslow’s pyramid of needs and that is people are then able to fulfill the need of feeling prestige and accomplishment.

Homophily Concepts

The concept of homophily in social media begins with the grouping of people with the same interests and thoughts. From there people grow more acquainted and trusting of information being spread from within that group. This homophily of digital communities can be beneficial in that information is quickly absorbed and disseminated to all members efficiently. There is also a benefit with it shared among the community, or flock, in digital format in reducing chances of confabulation found when being verbally shared to one another physically.

Algorithms on Social Platforms

One good example of a social platform’s ability to include algorithms to develop homophily is Twitter’s use of hashtags. The use of tags allows users to quickly find relevant articles or postings based on keywords of their interest. As members use the same hashtag for their postings that keyword is then ranked on Twitter’s listing of current tags being used on their site. People wishing to find greater social connections related to their own interested would be able to easily connect to other people using similar tags in their own postings. Another example would be Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm to present postings on a member. This takes into account what Facebook believes that user will find interesting and would want to continue clicking on in order to read more about. It’s contribution to homophily by grouping members based on similar shared postings. If one member goes on to share a post from their newsfeed apart of Facebook’s algorithm will take that into account and try to share more of the same similar content in future postings.

References

Himelboim, I. (08/2016). Valence-based homophily on twitter: Network analysis of emotions and political talk in the 2012 presidential election Sage Publications. doi:10.1177/1461444814555096
McLeod, S. (2018). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
Winerman, L. (2013, March). What draws us to Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/03/cover-facebook.aspx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.