Before the web, researchers documented participation inequality in media such as Usenet newsgroups, Compu Serve bulletin boards, Internet mailing lists, and internal discussion boards in big companies.
A study of more than 2 million messages on Usenet found that 27% of the postings were from people who posted only a single message.
In my own life, I’ve learned that having close friends of different ages helps me feel like less of an outlier among my peers, and reminds me that I can wind up sharing plenty with someone, even if they’re in a different phase of life. ANN_IN_BOSTONI met the love of my life online last year and I am 52. Online dating should not be your sole or even primary focus, but to rule it out is to cut off one of the primary ways people in their 40s and 50s meet. Live your life, keep all options open, make yourself happy in the meantime. In my experience, you’ve just got to keep contacting people, and hope for a connection. Not much better from a male’s point of view — i.e., some women are reluctant to give their phone number.
Having older and younger friends makes the world seem bigger — and a lot less lonely. .) And they’re at museums, and bookstores, and protests, and hikes, and concerts, and lectures. I give mine and times to call — and they don’t call.
All large-scale, multi-user communities and online social networks that rely on users to contribute content or build services share one property: most users don't participate very much. In contrast, a tiny minority of users usually accounts for a disproportionately large amount of the content and other system activity.
This phenomenon of participation inequality was first studied in depth by Will Hill in the early '90s, when he worked down the hall from me at Bell Communications Research.
During that time I was vaguely aware that a new generation was reproducing old patterns, which I found perplexing and sad.
Now that I’m back in the fray, what I see at closer range offers even more evidence of how far we haven’t come.
When you’re meeting someone in person, it’s easy enough to deliberately ignore the fact that they’re probably seeing other people.
When it comes to online dating however, it’s not hard to “accidentally” notice that UCLAGal84 has been logging into her account even after you’ve gone on a few dates.
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