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Facebook as a Small World: a topological hypothesis

Facebook as a Small World: a topological hypothesis Facebook is becoming a pervasive entity as its social, cultural and media ramifications grow deep and entrenched in our daily life. Its nature of a complex system of interactions, bearing a strong similarity to networks built through individual choices and systems shaped by evolutionary pressure, makes it an interesting target for research. Scale-free Small World networks, recently popularized by Barabasi, are a topological class pertaining to both these domains, whose members have resilience to disruption and short intermediate connections between nodes. In this paper we show that the topological structure of a specific subset of Facebook, gathered using data from a self-report online questionnaire on its usage, is similar but measurably different from a scale-free Small World network. We conjecture that the reason for this counterintuitive result lies in the dynamics behind friendship requests. This concept may be extendable to the whole network and to other social networks, and is useful to understand Facebook strengths and weaknesses, and to forecast its evolution. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Network Analysis and Mining Springer Journals

Facebook as a Small World: a topological hypothesis

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer-Verlag
Subject
Computer Science; Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery; Applications of Graph Theory and Complex Networks; Game Theory, Economics, Social and Behav. Sciences; Statistics for Social Science, Behavorial Science, Education, Public Policy, and Law; Methodology of the Social Sciences
ISSN
1869-5450
eISSN
1869-5469
DOI
10.1007/s13278-011-0042-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Facebook is becoming a pervasive entity as its social, cultural and media ramifications grow deep and entrenched in our daily life. Its nature of a complex system of interactions, bearing a strong similarity to networks built through individual choices and systems shaped by evolutionary pressure, makes it an interesting target for research. Scale-free Small World networks, recently popularized by Barabasi, are a topological class pertaining to both these domains, whose members have resilience to disruption and short intermediate connections between nodes. In this paper we show that the topological structure of a specific subset of Facebook, gathered using data from a self-report online questionnaire on its usage, is similar but measurably different from a scale-free Small World network. We conjecture that the reason for this counterintuitive result lies in the dynamics behind friendship requests. This concept may be extendable to the whole network and to other social networks, and is useful to understand Facebook strengths and weaknesses, and to forecast its evolution.

Journal

Social Network Analysis and MiningSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 3, 2011

References