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apophenia: Would the real social network please stand up?

From: Karl Dubost <karl+w3c@la-grange.net>
Date: Sat, 1 Aug 2009 00:41:24 -0400
Message-Id: <9E4D7426-BEB6-4767-9B69-5DE21901AA43@la-grange.net>
To: public-xg-socialweb@w3.org
An article to better understand some metrics

On Fri, 31 Jul 2009 07:10:59 GMT
In apophenia: Would the real social network please stand up?
At http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2009/07/28/would_the_real.html

All too frequently, someone makes a comment about
how a large number of Facebook Friends must mean a
high degree of social capital. Or how we can
determine who is closest to who by measuring their
email messages. Or that the Dunbar number can
explain the average number of Facebook friends.
These are just three examples of how people
mistakenly assume that 1) any social network that
can be boiled down to a graph can be compared and
2) any theory of social networks is transitive to
any graph representing connections between people.
Such mistaken views result in broad
misinterpretations of social networks and social
network sites. Yet, time and time again, I hear
problematic assumptions so let me start with some

    1. Not all social networks are the same.
    2. You cannot assume network transitivity.
    3. You cannot assume that properties that hold
for one network apply to other networks.

To address this, I want to begin by mapping out
three distinct ways of modeling a social network.
These are not the only ways of modeling a social
network, but they are three common ways that are
often collapsed in public discourse.
Received on Saturday, 1 August 2009 04:41:35 UTC

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