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The power of indirect social ties  [PDF]
Xiang Zuo,Jeremy Blackburn,Nicolas Kourtellis,John Skvoretz,Adriana Iamnitchi
Computer Science , 2014,
Abstract: While direct social ties have been intensely studied in the context of computer-mediated social networks, indirect ties (e.g., friends of friends) have seen little attention. Yet in real life, we often rely on friends of our friends for recommendations (of good doctors, good schools, or good babysitters), for introduction to a new job opportunity, and for many other occasional needs. In this work we attempt to 1) quantify the strength of indirect social ties, 2) validate it, and 3) empirically demonstrate its usefulness for distributed applications on two examples. We quantify social strength of indirect ties using a(ny) measure of the strength of the direct ties that connect two people and the intuition provided by the sociology literature. We validate the proposed metric experimentally by comparing correlations with other direct social tie evaluators. We show via data-driven experiments that the proposed metric for social strength can be used successfully for social applications. Specifically, we show that it alleviates known problems in friend-to-friend storage systems by addressing two previously documented shortcomings: reduced set of storage candidates and data availability correlations. We also show that it can be used for predicting the effects of a social diffusion with an accuracy of up to 93.5%.
Coupling Human Mobility and Social Ties  [PDF]
Jameson L. Toole,Carlos Herrera-Yague,Christian M. Schneider,Marta C. Gonzalez
Computer Science , 2015,
Abstract: Studies using massive, passively data collected from communication technologies have revealed many ubiquitous aspects of social networks, helping us understand and model social media, information diffusion, and organizational dynamics. More recently, these data have come tagged with geographic information, enabling studies of human mobility patterns and the science of cities. We combine these two pursuits and uncover reproducible mobility patterns amongst social contacts. First, we introduce measures of mobility similarity and predictability and measure them for populations of users in three large urban areas. We find individuals' visitations patterns are far more similar to and predictable by social contacts than strangers and that these measures are positively correlated with tie strength. Unsupervised clustering of hourly variations in mobility similarity identifies three categories of social ties and suggests geography is an important feature to contextualize social relationships. We find that the composition of a user's ego network in terms of the type of contacts they keep is correlated with mobility behavior. Finally, we extend a popular mobility model to include movement choices based on social contacts and compare it's ability to reproduce empirical measurements with two additional models of mobility.
Affective Social Ties - Missink Link in Governance Theory  [PDF]
Frans van Winden
Rationality, Markets and Morals , 2012,
Abstract: Although governance is about interpersonal relationships, it appears that the antecedents and consequences of affective bonds (social ties) in social groups dealing with common-pool resources and public goods have been neglected. The welfare costs of the neglect of such bonds and their dynamic properties in economics are unclear but may be substantial. In this paper, I discuss a theoretical 'dual process' social ties model and the behavioral experimental and recent neurological evidence this model has obtained. Furthermore, a number of implications and institutional issues are addressed.
Social Ties and Emotions: Evidence from Social Media  [PDF]
Kristina Lerman,Megha Arora,Luciano Gallegos,Ponnurangam Kumaraguru,David Garcia
Computer Science , 2015,
Abstract: The social connections, or ties, individuals create affect their life outcomes, for example, by providing novel information that leads to new jobs or career opportunities. A host of socioeconomic and cognitive factors are believed to affect social interactions, but few of these factors have been empirically validated. In this research work, we extracted a large corpus of data from a popular social media platform that consists of geo-referenced messages, or tweets, posted from a major US metropolitan area. We linked these tweets to US Census data through their locations. This allowed us to measure emotions expressed in tweets posted from a specific area, and also use that area's socioeconomic and demographic characteristics in the analysis. We extracted the structure of social interactions from the people mentioned in tweets from that area. We find that at an aggregate level, areas where social media users engage in stronger, less diverse online social interactions are those where they express more negative emotions, like sadness and anger. With respect to demographics, these areas have larger numbers of Hispanic residents, lower mean household income, and lower education levels. Conversely, areas with weaker, more diverse online interactions are associated with happier, more positive feelings and also have better educated, younger and higher-earning residents. Our work highlights the value of linking social media data to traditional data sources, such as US Census, to drive novel analysis of online behavior.
Attention on Weak Ties in Social and Communication Networks  [PDF]
Lilian Weng,Márton Karsai,Nicola Perra,Filippo Menczer,Alessandro Flammini
Computer Science , 2015,
Abstract: Granovetter's weak tie theory of social networks is built around two central hypotheses. The first states that strong social ties carry the large majority of interaction events; the second maintains that weak social ties, although less active, are often relevant for the exchange of especially important information (e.g., about potential new jobs in Granovetter's work). While several empirical studies have provided support for the first hypothesis, the second has been the object of far less scrutiny. A possible reason is that it involves notions relative to the nature and importance of the information that are hard to quantify and measure, especially in large scale studies. Here, we search for empirical validation of both Granovetter's hypotheses. We find clear empirical support for the first. We also provide empirical evidence and a quantitative interpretation for the second. We show that attention, measured as the fraction of interactions devoted to a particular social connection, is high on weak ties --- possibly reflecting the postulated informational purposes of such ties --- but also on very strong ties. Data from online social media and mobile communication reveal network-dependent mixtures of these two effects on the basis of a platform's typical usage. Our results establish a clear relationships between attention, importance, and strength of social links, and could lead to improved algorithms to prioritize social media content
The dynamical strength of social ties in information spreading  [PDF]
Giovanna Miritello,Esteban Moro,Rubén Lara
Computer Science , 2010, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.83.045102
Abstract: We investigate the temporal patterns of human communication and its influence on the spreading of information in social networks. The analysis of mobile phone calls of 20 million people in one country shows that human communication is bursty and happens in group conversations. These features have opposite effects in information reach: while bursts hinder propagation at large scales, conversations favor local rapid cascades. To explain these phenomena we define the dynamical strength of social ties, a quantity that encompasses both the topological and temporal patterns of human communication.
Reading the Source Code of Social Ties  [PDF]
Luca Maria Aiello,Rossano Schifanella,Bogdan State
Computer Science , 2014, DOI: 10.1145/2615569.2615672
Abstract: Though online social network research has exploded during the past years, not much thought has been given to the exploration of the nature of social links. Online interactions have been interpreted as indicative of one social process or another (e.g., status exchange or trust), often with little systematic justification regarding the relation between observed data and theoretical concept. Our research aims to breach this gap in computational social science by proposing an unsupervised, parameter-free method to discover, with high accuracy, the fundamental domains of interaction occurring in social networks. By applying this method on two online datasets different by scope and type of interaction (aNobii and Flickr) we observe the spontaneous emergence of three domains of interaction representing the exchange of status, knowledge and social support. By finding significant relations between the domains of interaction and classic social network analysis issues (e.g., tie strength, dyadic interaction over time) we show how the network of interactions induced by the extracted domains can be used as a starting point for more nuanced analysis of online social data that may one day incorporate the normative grammar of social interaction. Our methods finds applications in online social media services ranging from recommendation to visual link summarization.
Cooperation Prevails When Individuals Adjust Their Social Ties  [PDF]
Francisco C Santos,Jorge M Pacheco,Tom Lenaerts
PLOS Computational Biology , 2006, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0020140
Abstract: Conventional evolutionary game theory predicts that natural selection favours the selfish and strong even though cooperative interactions thrive at all levels of organization in living systems. Recent investigations demonstrated that a limiting factor for the evolution of cooperative interactions is the way in which they are organized, cooperators becoming evolutionarily competitive whenever individuals are constrained to interact with few others along the edges of networks with low average connectivity. Despite this insight, the conundrum of cooperation remains since recent empirical data shows that real networks exhibit typically high average connectivity and associated single-to-broad–scale heterogeneity. Here, a computational model is constructed in which individuals are able to self-organize both their strategy and their social ties throughout evolution, based exclusively on their self-interest. We show that the entangled evolution of individual strategy and network structure constitutes a key mechanism for the sustainability of cooperation in social networks. For a given average connectivity of the population, there is a critical value for the ratio W between the time scales associated with the evolution of strategy and of structure above which cooperators wipe out defectors. Moreover, the emerging social networks exhibit an overall heterogeneity that accounts very well for the diversity of patterns recently found in acquired data on social networks. Finally, heterogeneity is found to become maximal when W reaches its critical value. These results show that simple topological dynamics reflecting the individual capacity for self-organization of social ties can produce realistic networks of high average connectivity with associated single-to-broad–scale heterogeneity. On the other hand, they show that cooperation cannot evolve as a result of “social viscosity” alone in heterogeneous networks with high average connectivity, requiring the additional mechanism of topological co-evolution to ensure the survival of cooperative behaviour.
It's the Recipient That Counts: Spending Money on Strong Social Ties Leads to Greater Happiness than Spending on Weak Social Ties  [PDF]
Lara B. Aknin,Gillian M. Sandstrom,Elizabeth W. Dunn,Michael I. Norton
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017018
Abstract: Previous research has shown that spending money on others (prosocial spending) increases happiness. But, do the happiness gains depend on who the money is spent on? Sociologists have distinguished between strong ties with close friends and family and weak ties—relationships characterized by less frequent contact, lower emotional intensity, and limited intimacy. We randomly assigned participants to reflect on a time when they spent money on either a strong social tie or a weak social tie. Participants reported higher levels of positive affect after recalling a time they spent on a strong tie versus a weak tie. The level of intimacy in the relationship was more important than the type of relationship; there was no significant difference in positive affect after recalling spending money on a family member instead of a friend. These results add to the growing literature examining the factors that moderate the link between prosocial behaviour and happiness.
Social Features of Online Networks: The Strength of Intermediary Ties in Online Social Media  [PDF]
Przemyslaw A. Grabowicz, José J. Ramasco, Esteban Moro, Josep M. Pujol, Victor M. Eguiluz
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029358
Abstract: An increasing fraction of today's social interactions occur using online social media as communication channels. Recent worldwide events, such as social movements in Spain or revolts in the Middle East, highlight their capacity to boost people's coordination. Online networks display in general a rich internal structure where users can choose among different types and intensity of interactions. Despite this, there are still open questions regarding the social value of online interactions. For example, the existence of users with millions of online friends sheds doubts on the relevance of these relations. In this work, we focus on Twitter, one of the most popular online social networks, and find that the network formed by the basic type of connections is organized in groups. The activity of the users conforms to the landscape determined by such groups. Furthermore, Twitter's distinction between different types of interactions allows us to establish a parallelism between online and offline social networks: personal interactions are more likely to occur on internal links to the groups (the weakness of strong ties); events transmitting new information go preferentially through links connecting different groups (the strength of weak ties) or even more through links connecting to users belonging to several groups that act as brokers (the strength of intermediary ties).
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