Several years ago an interesting study was released that showed how lifestyles, customs and addictions are transmitted in social circles up to the 3rd generation, for example, if you like sports, it is possible that you influence your friends to join in doing sports, and in turn to your friends’ friends and so to your friends’ friends’ friends, bone 3rd generation where you don’t know directly who you are influencing to practice sports.
Now a new and very large study investigated the Facebook friendships of 72 million people, which represents 84% of American adults between the ages of 25 and 44. The main finding is revealing: the friendships that each user has have an impact on their possibility of social mobility.
Another practical example is the friendships of a young man who lives in poverty, if his friends have a more privileged lifestyle, it is possible that the young man improves his lifestyle. Researchers have called such friendships “economic connections.”
This interesting study started in 2018, led by the economist Raj Chetty, who received support from Meta to carry out the analysis thanks to his powerful data. Researchers from Harvard, New York University, Standford University and others joined the study. to researchers from Meta itself, the results were published in the journal Nature.
The data obtained created the Social Capital Atlas, a set of data on Facebook friendships that will be available for consultation through ‘Data for Good’.
After sampling cases, the researchers identified that children who live in certain more privileged zip codes than others have a higher percentage of completing university studies, thus giving them the possibility of a better lifestyle.
The key is in a term referred to for decades, but on which there is little accurate scientific material: social capital. Economic theory says that a person with friends with a better social position and with access to education accumulates social capital during his life that will eventually lead to a better income. The Meta data reinforces the hypothesis with digital data.
The finding is important because it can lead to other types of conclusions about the importance of non-segregation by class, the lack of bridges between neighborhoods where people with different economic perceptions live, and even public policies that favor public spaces for coexistence or educational policies to promote relationships between people of different socioeconomic levels.
The investigation and the results that they throw, is giving certainty to the popular regional customs that lead us to enter our children in private schools, seeking in an unconscious or very rational way, to link them with the children of those who in the future will be commanding individuals. In business and companies, in other words, the hypothesis that social relations open the doors of circles where privilege is common among all its members is being verified. Now yes, apply the tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are, we’ll see you next time.