Research on Facebook showed certain statistics. These were regarding upper class denizens. They had few foreign acquaintances.
A lot of anonymous data got collected from the social network that is Facebook. It pointed towards a trend that may surprise many. When the social and financial lives of people who enter cyberspace were analyzed, a peculiar tendency emerged.
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Those who belonged to the elite tended to have fewer friends from foreign lands. This was a constant that was true for all the elite cyberfreaks throughout the world.
It was obviously supposed that those who had the means to travel and spend a whole lot of cash would make the most contacts among foreigners. But this was not so. Instead, these power elites tended to bond with their native like-minded and similarly-positioned people.
They preferred local inhabitants rather than those from other countries. Internationalism was a rarity among the elitist crowd. The restrictive environment of elites probably gave birth to this attitude of sticking to one’s home turf instead of venturing abroad in search of pals.
Since high class individuals have large amounts of money to splash on all sorts of goods and services, they tend not to socialize with other groups. Their own narrow class niche was where all their energies were focused for better or for worse.
Both local and global samples were examined and the results were the same. The research team, from the Prosociality and Well-Being Lab in the University of Cambridge's Department of Psychology, conducted both local and global studies.
"The findings point to the possibility that the wealthy stay more in their own social bubble, but this is unlikely to be ultimately beneficial. If you are not engaging internationally then you will miss out on that international resource - that flow of new ideas and information," said co-author Dr Aleksandr Spectre, who heads up the lab.
"The results could also be highlighting a mechanism of how the modern era might facilitate a closing of the inequality gap, as those from lower social classes take advantage of platforms like Facebook to increase their social capital beyond national borders," he said.
Social elites tend to remain confined to their own lot. They seldom go forth into foreign territory. And while this may make for a boring life, they have all the money in the world to spend on anything they like so it doesn’t seem to matter. Friendship is a poor man’s balm. The rich already have all the luxuries which obviously include the necessities. What do they lack? Nothing!
As for those from the middle and lower classes, they did make contacts with foreigners. Thus they were compensated via a wider influential milieu and common culture. These were the hope for the Utopian idea of a united world.
Whereas they didn’t possess much in the way of wealth, they got by with a little help from their friends (especially those in other countries). Thus the law of compensation holds for both the rich and poor.
Also, Facebook could be changing the status of the disadvantaged of the world, by allowing them to make contacts in countries where greater opportunities lie. Thus they stand to take advantage of cultural and human capital thereby automatically bridging the gap between themselves and the ultra-rich.
The results published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
"Previous research by others has highlighted the value of developing weak ties to people in distant social circles, because they offer access to resources not likely to be found in one's immediate circle. I find it encouraging that low-social class people tend to have greater access to these resources on account of having more international friendships," said co-author Maurice Yearwood.
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"From a methodological perspective, this combination of micro and macro starts to build a very interesting initial story. These are just correlations at the moment, but it's a fascinating start for this type of research going forward," Yearwood said.