Sunday, January 13, 2008

anthropology via facebook

Ok, I can't write solely about politics for two weeks straight. I do have more to say in continuation of my previous post, but for now, just let me ramble.

I discovered that there are statistics for each network on Facebook, showing that network's favorite activities, movies, music, and books, as well as relationship status and political statistics. So, I had to do a little comparison between the school where I (and most of you) went to undergrad, and the school where I currently attend graduate school.

My alma mater enjoys listening to Coldplay, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Incubus, and the Fray the most, and those all made the top 10 for my current school, who also placed "Country" at number 2 and included George Strait. Both schools' favorite books are the Bible, Harry Potter, the Dan Brown books, and some books we probably all read in high school like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby. Lord of the Rings made the list for my current school. For my alma mater, the Number 1 favorite movie is Wedding Crashers, followed by The Notebook as Number 2, and for my current school, these two films switched places at top. I was pleased to see two of my favorite films, Garden State and Love Actually, made it into the top ten of my alma mater's list, but Braveheart and 300 (which I also enjoy) pushed those two films off the top ten at my current school. Also, some of my favorite tv shows like Friends, LOST, and the Office were in the top five of both lists, but for my current school, Scrubs replaces Sex in the City.

At both schools, about 40% the network members don't list their political view, and 30% don't list their relationship status. At my alma mater 28% are conservative, 15% are moderate, and 10% are liberal. At my current university, 33% of the network is conservative, and only 6% claims to be liberal. Relationship statistics are pretty similar between the two schools, which surprised me. At my previous school's network, 29% are single, 25% are in a relationship, and 12% are married or engaged. At my current school, 31% are single, 26% are in a relationship, and 14% are married or engaged.

The really interesting differences emerge when you consider the top interests of these two schools. Both love music, reading, movies, shopping, dancing, friends, and sports. However, for my current school, fishing, hunting, and football replaced the former school's interest in traveling, working out, and running.

So considering these comparisons, I can make a few general conclusions. My previous and current schools read the same books, watch the same tv shows, and have a lot of the same favorite movies and music. My current school enjoys country music more than my previous school (no surprise). It's hard to tell with only a 60% response rate, but my current schools appears to be slightly more conservative than my alma mater. I had expected it to be much more conservative, but I guess I had forgotten that my alma mater is also overall pretty conservative. According to these statistics, my current school really isn't more marriage-minded than my alma mater, which actually completely surprised me.

My current school enjoys fishing, hunting and football more than traveling and working out. Perhaps this is because there are more men attend my current school and those interests are typically more masculine, whereas more women study abroad. Or, perhaps I just came from a school where people were more image conscious and had more money to travel, and now I'm at a school where people are more typically country and Texan. Indeed, over 85% of the students here are from Texas, whereas I believe that about a third of the students at my alma mater were international or from another state. Folks from Connecticut and California just ain't gonna be fishin' and huntin' as much as us Texans. The high number of Texans here makes sense, since this is a public school and charges higher tuition for non-state residents, and my alma mater was a private school which charged the same tuition for everyone.

So there you have it, facebook statistics show what I've known all along: my new school is a little more conservative, a little more country, a little more masculine, and a little less geographically diverse than my previous school. Sadly, this is all a little less me. Fortunately, my interests are pretty varied and I consider myself somewhat of a social chameleon. I enjoy myself drinking beer while playing dominoes and going to the shooting range (not while drinking beer, of course) or drinking wine at an art gallery and going to a poetry reading, though of course, I prefer some of these activities over others.

Classes start tomorrow. I told a friend a couple of days ago that I was actually ready because I've been bored at work this past week. Now that in 12 hours I'll be back on campus, I sure could go for another week off! Oh well, I am excited about seeing my classmates again, and I read a little from my textbook for tomorrow, Systems of Psychotherapy: A Transtheoretical Analysis, and yeah, it's going to be pretty interesting. Funny, one of the authors is from Scranton, Pennsylvania, home of our favorite branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. I had the opportunity to watch several episodes from season 3 the other day ("The Merger" through "Phyliss' Wedding"), and was surprised to find that Karen was kinda a likable character. I always just thought of her as some pretty hussy stealing Jim from Pam, but I should have trusted Jim's judgment better. Group exercises, excuse me, "Group Recxercise" classes are free at the campus rec center this first week, so I'm going to check out a few (Yoga, Cycling, and maybe even Hip Hop) and see if they're something I'd like to continue. Tuesday we're celebrating one of my classmate's birthdays. You know, this might be a good first week back at classes after all. Even if it's not, I'll have MLK day to breath again.


Ben said...

Blah blah blah relevant comment about Facebook anthropology...

Seriously, though, I really enjoyed the direction they went with the Karen romance through the entire second half of the season. It's good that Karen is a legitimate contender.

crackers and cheese said...

Agreed. Had Karen just been some common floozy, the whole love triangle (or square if you count Roy) of that season would never have been believable. This show really succeeds in creating dynamic characters out of caricatures.

Martha Elaine Belden said...

very interesting. i think we all expect more differences to exist between schools like TCU and A&M than actually do... so it's interesting to see it in statistical form.

nice post :)

Ben said...

You Texans are all alike.

Cara said...

Haha! I loved Ben's comment. Yeah, Karen was likable until she said, "Pam is kind of a bitch" during season three. Nah, she's still likable enough. But we all know who is as lovable as Italian food. I mean, am I right?

Really interesting Facebook stats, Kelly. I didn't realize you could find this kind of stuff on there.