The relations of online consumption and offline behavior: reinforcement of inherent inequalities?

There are well-documented research inquiries on the relations and effects between the offline and the online world. Recent studies have sought to understand this connection in various thematic domains, such as religious activities, political engagement, and purchases. Thus, people’s self and their activities have been studied comprehensively. However, the intersection of socio-demographical characteristics and activities is yet to receive more attention. We seek to understand whether people’s identities and attributes contribute to the relationship between online consumption and offline behavior. If people’s offline decisions are influenced by online exposure and online content is discriminatory by any dimension, then, potentially harmful behavioral patterns might be reinforced (for instance, with regard to nutrition or sports). Quantifying and understanding these equity issues will add to the necessary scientific inquiry on the role of social media in systemic discrimination.

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