In a Facebook post titled, "The Unequal Adoption of Equal Signs," users Bogdan State and Lada Adamic have broken down the "equal sign" phenomenon which seemingly overran the social networking site in March of this year.
Their study found that 2.77 million users in the U.S. changed their profile picture to an equal sign in support of marriage equality, in an effort spurred by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Those statistics were then used to indicate which geographic areas (broken down into roughly 100,000 person sections) had the greatest adoption rates.
Some of the findings were less than surprising, namely that areas along the east and west coasts, and around the Great Lakes, had the highest percentages of Facebook users changing their profile pictures to the equal signs. Others, including the breakdown of Facebook users in some of the nation's larger urban areas (including New York) were more telling.
While many cities saw high rates of participation in the campaign, the new analysis shows that there was in some cases great variation within cities.
“These striking differences at the level of urban areas could be the either the result of large geographical differences in terms of support for marriage equality, or they could be the result of lack of connectivity between social networks that made the phenomenon less likely to catch on in certain regions,” Facebook’s Bogdan State and Lada Adamic wrote Monday afternoon.
In New York, adoption was highest in Manhattan and the parts of Brooklyn and Queens closest to it. But the rates of people changing their profile pictures were very low in the Bronx, outer Brooklyn and Queens, parts of Long Island, Staten Island and New Jersey.
Other statistics showed that people around the age of thirty were most likely to change their picture, and that many of the twenty-five counties with the highest rate of equal signs contained college towns.