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The network in the garden: an empirical analysis of social media in rural life

The network in the garden: an empirical analysis of social media in rural life,10.1145/1357054.1357304,Eric Gilbert,Karrie Karahalios,Christian Sandvi

The network in the garden: an empirical analysis of social media in rural life   (Citations: 18)
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History repeatedly demonstrates that rural communities have unique technological needs. Yet, we know little about how rural communities use modern technologies, so we lack knowledge on how to design for them. To address this gap, our empirical paper investigates behavioral differences between more than 3,000 rural and urban social media users. Using a dataset collected from a broadly popular social network site, we analyze users' profiles, 340,000 online friendships and 200,000 interpersonal messages. Using social capital theory, we predict differences between rural and urban users and find strong evidence supporting our hypotheses. Namely, rural people articulate far fewer friends online, and those friends live much closer to home. Our results also indicate that the groups have substantially different gender distributions and use privacy features differently. We conclude by discussing design implications drawn from our findings; most importantly, designers should reconsider the binary friend-or-not model to allow for incremental trust-building. Author Keywords
Conference: Computer Human Interaction - CHI , pp. 1603-1612, 2008
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    • ...Work by Gilbert, Karahalios, and Sandvig [18] provided data on urban and rural use of MySpace...
    • ...If rural users are coming to social media later than their urban counterparts (as posited in [18]), this should be seen in passionoriented sites as well as friend-oriented ones...
    • ...Social capital theory explains the dierences observed between urban and rural users in myspace [18]...

    Jennifer Golbeck. The more people I meet, the more I like my dog: A study of pet-oriente...

    • ...This explains why dissonance often arises for usage in natural places, for example finding convenient shade to avoid glare on a PDA screen is more difficult in a field than in a shopping mall and social networking web-sites do not match rural as well as they do urban life-style [36]...
    • ...[36]). Accessing economic and welfare systems are essential for the survival of rural communities, from procuring better returns on crops via remote consultation on agricultural market prices (In Ref...
    • ...[36]) rather than the values that enable closely-knit communities in rural places to function (e.g...
    • ...For example HCI research related to natural places occurs more frequently outside the United States [36] and in some regions more than others...
    • ...[36]), sharing images of times past or dispelling unproductive attitudes towards natural places by sensitizing visitors to rural ways...
    • ...This is strongly supported by our observations in a rural African community (in prep.) and may account for the way rural people in the US use social networking websites to connect with fewer, but closer, people [36]...

    Nicola J. Bidwellet al. Pursuing genius loci: interaction design and natural places

    • ...Similarly, Gilbert et al. show that people living in rural communities have friends who live closer to home than those living in urban communities (Gilbert, Karahalios, & Sandvig, 2008)...

    Sarita Yardiet al. Tweeting from the Town Square: Measuring Geographic Local Networks

    • ...Previous scholarship has predominantly studied ‘friend-based social network sites’ like Facebook and MySpace, investigating how people use them to maintain relationships with existing ties (Burke et al. 2009; Gilbert et al. 2008; Lampe et al. 2008), and the benefits and risks that arise in their use (Binder et al. 2009; Brown et al. 2008; Joinson 2008; Lewis et al. 2008)...

    Bernd Plodereret al. Collaboration on Social Network Sites: Amateurs, Professionals and Cel...

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