Rich People Don’t Have More Followers! Overcoming Social Inequality With Social Media
Previous work on personal networks has shown that higher socioeconomic status results in larger and more powerful networks. With the Internet, in particular with social media, it has become easier to establish and maintain relationships, suggesting an equalizing effect. However, people of different socioeconomic status use these new resources in different ways creating a digital divide. In this article we study popularity on Twitter based on estimated socioeconomic status in real life. We collect 1 billion geo-coded Tweets from the United States and connect the geographic position of the sender with socioeconomic data at the level of Census block groups. We show that people tweeting from higher income areas do not have more followers. Rather, there is a small negative correlation between income and number of followers.