Facebook friends and social status..

January 13, 2009

How “posh” are your Facebook friends names? One element of a presentation last Thursday by Alex Singleton at UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis explored the relationship between names and social status in the context of facebook. The slides are online, Singleton’s presentation (pdf here) featured a screen grab of mock-up web page in which friends names were ranked according to “social status”. Although a little tongue in cheek, the concept rests upon some significant social research linking names with ethnicity and social status. The correlation is not perfect – but it is strong enough to be useful. As a technique for analyzing ethnicity, for example, it allows much finer grained analysis than that afforded by census data alone.

Some of the research into names and ethnicity powers the World Names Profiler, well worth a visit.