The blogging community is more racially diverse than one might think. Internet-connected African Americans are more likely to blog than their white and Hispanic counterparts, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.
While African Americans as a whole are less likely to afford laptops and personal computers, Internet-savvy blacks, on average, blog one and a half times to nearly twice as much as whites, while Hispanics blog at the same rate as whites, according to a study published in the March online issue of the journal, Information, Communication & Society.
"Blacks consume less online content, but once online, are more likely to produce it," said the study's author, Jen Schradie, a doctoral candidate in sociology at UC Berkeley and a researcher at the campus's Berkeley Center for New Media.
Schradie analyzed data from more than 40,000 Americans surveyed between 2002 and 2008 for the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which tracks Internet use and social media trends. Her latest findings follow up on a 2011 study in which Schradie found a "digital divide" among online content producers based on education and socio-economic status.
While her latest study echoes earlier findings that blogs, websites and video-sharing sites represent the perspectives of college-educated, Web 2.0-savvy users, it sheds new light on the racial breakdown of those producing online content.
But, she said, "While blacks are more likely to blog than whites, it doesn't mean the digital divide is over. People with more income and education are still more likely to blog than those with just a high school education and Internet access."
On average, about 10 percent of blacks are likely to blog, compared to 6 percent of whites, according to surveys taken during that seven-year period. And that figure steadily rose, with 17 percent of blacks likely to blog in 2008, compared to 9 percent of whites.
During that period, free online blogging platforms such as Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr, became widely available to the public. And while longer form blogs have been eclipsed in recent years by such micro-blogging tools as Twitter and Facebook, they continue to populate the digital landscape at a steady rate, the study notes.
The study did not look into why African Americans might blog at higher rates than whites and Hispanics, which Schradie says is a topic for further exploration. But it notes that: "Perhaps, African Americans, who have been marginalized from the mainstream news media, now have a platform for participation and are more likely to blog."
Spokespeople for political and community organizing groups such as the ColorOfChange.org have posited that social media are a natural extension of the word-of-mouth communication traditions used in African American communities.
"Ultimately, the study shows that class inequality is perpetuating the digital divide in social media," Schradie said. "Race matters, but not the way we think it does."
University of California - Berkeley: http://www.berkeley.edu
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
In the 1950s a group of pioneering psychiatrists showed that hallucinogenic drugs had therapeutic potential, but the research was halted as part of the backlash against the hippy counterculture.
Five years ago cognitive scientist Rafael Núñez found himself in the Upper Yupno Valley, a remote, mountainous region of Papua New Guinea. The area is home to some 8,000 indigenous people, and Núñez and his graduate student, Kensy Cooperrider, were studying their conceptions of time.
With the Ebola outbreak in West Africa doubling by the month, the World Health Organization is pushing more extreme measures to contain the virus
For the first time, researchers have tracked the spread of Ebola, almost in real time, during an outbreak. The virus is quickly changing its DNA. But it's still unclear what these mutations mean.
Think of all the adults you know. Think of your parents and grandparents. Think of the teachers you had at school, your doctors and dentists, the people who collect your rubbish, and the actors you see on TV. All of these people probably have little mites crawling, eating, sleeping, and having sex on their faces.
A trial vaccine against Ebola could be tested on healthy volunteers in the UK in September, says an international health consortium.
The ALS Association has raised more than $94 million in recent weeks via its online ice bucket challenge — compared with $2.7 million this time last year. Now what?
Implant attached to bone in pioneering technique that helps prevent infection and discomfort
A new method for removing allergens from peanuts means help could soon be on the way for the roughly 2.8 million Americans with a potentially life-threatening allergy to the popular food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
Survey finds many social media users hesitate to express opinions unless they know their followers will agree with them