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A metric for comparing Social Circles

Epistemic status : Just an idea I had on a walk, doesn't seem that stupid to me

I have been thinking a bit about this topic lately, had an idea of a solution and figured LW would be interested in pointing out the unavoidable flaws in the reasoning.

Here's the gist Find a formula to quantify, as objectively as possible, your filter bubble (also called social bubble or even social circle). One could also see this as measuring by how much your social circle differ from random. The metric I chose to focus on is the income in local currency unit, but I think the idea is easily generalizable. For example we could use the total number of years of education.

But why ? One could use it to compare his own bubble to other people's. I can see it being used as a wakeup call (i.e. it's one way to find out how much you're privileged), or to judge a politician or something.

Here's a simple algorithm I came up with :

  1. ask the person to write down the names of the 10 most influential person they see more than once every 2 month. It has to be people they physically interact with, exchange ideas and so one. Any superficial friend doesn't count, one way relationships (watching someone one youtube for example) don't count either. Family members don't count. Neither do neighbours (that would skew results too much).
  2. write down their income, or if they live at their parent's expense : the average of their parent's income.
  3. sum the total income of your circle, add your own income, divide by 11. The difference between that value and the median income of your area of residence is your SocialCircleScore. You can compare this number to the one of others to better grasp the privileges that some may have without realizing it.

What do you think? Any idea of a better formula? What is missing? How would you see this being used? Ever heard of something like that? If so, I'd love to read on it.

I wouldn't say there's flaws in reasoning. Just that multiple comparisons are more likely to have issues, it's just a proxy, etc.

It's an interesting idea.


I am not aware of any way to quantify (even naively like my system) this kind of thing and I am very eager to hear about other ways people have found.

i.e. it's one way to find out how much you're privileged

You described using it for 'bubble evaluation'. I've also heard of stuff like that to measure bias.

any way to quantify (even naively like my system) this kind of thing

Which thing, and what kind of thing?

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