August 29th, 2009

[FORUM] How homogeneous are your social networks ?

Recently, someone was surprised when I said that in my social network, I had a substantial minority of queer male friends but instead a substantial majority of straight male friends. I honestly didn't understand his surprise for a few minutes, and was later surprised when I found that any number of sources on the Internet (1, 2, 3, 4) actually debated the question of whether it was possible at all. I'm likely enjoying the grace of late birth here, but I haven't had reason to suspect that my sexual orientation has hindered me from developing relationships with straight guys, if anything giving me an emotional awareness and openness that let me make significant relationships of any kind at all. It's not like I have to worrry about being beaten to death with a tire iron or being murdered and dismembered. A diverse crowd is good, and frankly, Toronto's mostly at the point where sexual orientation is just one element of one's personality among many. Other interests and tendencies and whatnot can take priority now.

My network's diverse in some ways, mind. My pool of friends might have diverse sexual orientations, but almost all of them have at least undergraduate degrees, almost all of them speak English as a first language, and almost all of them are white. Needless to say, this stands out in Toronto. No one chose to have this happen, of course, it's just that the social networks which led to friends and the befriending of friends' friends and so on happened to fit those patterns. My online connections are rather more diverse, of course, but still.

This brings me to the central question of this forum: How homogeneous are your social networks? Are they weighted towards a language or a religion or a neighbourhood? Have your networks' memberships been evolving? Tell all.