Geography and population density in online social networks

mickyates Social Networks 0 Comments

From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

by David Liben-Nowell, Jasmine Novak, Ravi Kumar, Prabhakar Raghavan, and Andrew Tomkins – published on line August 4 2005

“In online communities and other social networks, David Liben-Nowell et al. report that any two members can usually find a connection with only a few degrees of separation, partly because individuals tend to optimize friendships geographically. Sociological experiments have shown that social networks are often ‘navigable small worlds,’ in which any person, given only meager information about an arbitrary target person’s geographic location and occupation, can likely transmit a message to the target through a short chain of intermediate friends. Liben-Nowell et al. explored the role of geography alone in routing within a large, online social network.

The researchers used data from ~500,000 members of the LiveJournal online community, who made available their state and city of residence, as well as a list of other LiveJournal friends. Message-forwarding simulations based on these data showed that a routing strategy based solely on geography could successfully find short chains in the network. The researchers proposed a model relating geography and social-network friendship that accounts for variances in population density and showed that short connections can be made in every network exhibiting their friendship/geography relationship.”

Read the full paper here