Social Network Hypocrisy

This paper proposes that networks can act as covers which allow actors to participate in markets while maintaining a plausible excuse that they are not. Such covers are most valuable to actors in long-term relationships, as those who are already employed or in a long-term romantic relationship should not be seen as participating in the market for a new relationship. Data in support of this view are provided on the basis of fieldwork and large dataset from a social on-line network with a global presence. Results show that men in relationships and with large on-line networks are more like to look at women they do not know. In contrast, single men with large networks are more likely to look at women they do know. Implications for network theories as they pertain to organizations are explored. (more)

Now, is anyone surprised?

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  • Harrison C.

    I’m not surprised by the result, but I’m not sure what about it reads as “hypocrisy” to you, or to the authors of the paper. Single men are often looking for relationships, which are most likely going to arise from existing acquaintances. Married men, by contrast, are not “in the market for a new relationship,” so they’re more likely to look at strangers. For a single straight guy, looking at random friends-of-friends-of-friends who live in another city would be wasted time, and you’d expect them to do less of it.

    In other words, the result of the study are exactly what you’d expect to see if people were doing exactly what they say they’re doing.