From Homophily to Social Media Polarisation

High School ・Psychology ・APA ・3 Sources

Feeling Connected in Social Media and the Development of Homophily

In social media, multiple variables lead to feeling related. Similarity, which is triggered by influences such as family relations, organizations, cognitive mechanisms, and geographical factors, is one of the main factors that contribute to feelings of connectedness in social media. On the basis of the common elements they share, such as geographical variables and family relations, people begin to establish friendships, which further provides a solid base for hemophilia. Homophily refers to a phenomenon in which individuals appear to interact and identify with individuals that exhibit identical traits to theirs (Avin et al., 2015). Social media provides a virtual platform where an individual shares his or her desirable qualities, likes and dislikes, and gender among other attributes that allows the individual to connect with others who share similar attributes.

Algorithms and Cognitive Biases in Intensifying Homophily and Isolation

The key algorithms found in social media include the creation of profiles, following other users, exiting from the social media platforms, and news feeds among others. The algorithms play a significant role in intensifying homophily and isolation, where they facilitate the process of social groupings based on similar attributes that may include family backgrounds, nationalities, gender, and political affiliations among others (Avin et al., 2015). On the other hand, cognitive biases contribute to individual belief rigidity and social influences that contribute to social conformity, which further intensifies homophily and isolation. The development of homophily poses several potential risks in the use of social media, including the radicalization of terrorists, hate speech, political extremism, and bullying, which are easily perpetrated by the existence of large groups that share similar ideologies.  

Preventing Potential Risks in the use of Social Media

The risks that arise from the concept of homophily can be prevented through such steps as embracing diversity and joining social media platforms with an open mind rather than joining the platforms with a pre-meditated agenda, such as political ambitions among others (Enli, 2015). Fact-checking is also a critical step in preventing the risks associated with homophily, as it helps in avoiding the negative aspects that are associated with stereotyping and other negative aspects that emerge from the extensive use of social media.


Avin, C., Keller, B., Lotker, Z., Mathieu, C., Peleg, D., & Pignolet, Y. A. (2015, January). Homophily and the glass ceiling effect in social networks. In Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science (pp. 41-50). ACM.

Enli, G. (2015). The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics. Routledge.

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