LSS@SMW: Bernie Hogan Rebuilding The Collapsed Contexts In Social Media
Rebuilding the Collapsed
Contexts in Social Media
Bernie Hogan, PhD
Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
University of Oxford
Local Social @ Social Media Week,
February 4, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010 1
The particular case
of a peculiar age
Person-to-person networking does not undermine
distance. But it makes distance secondary to speciﬁc
social relationships. Each individual has their own
unique relationships. Like a thumbprint.
We live in an age of access.
To be local is to be accessible.
Saturday, February 6, 2010 2
The paradox of convenience
Everyone is somewhere, no one is everywhere
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Because you can never have too
many irrelevant friends
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A social utility?
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What is Facebook? Really?
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Reasons for friends on SNS
1. Actual friends
2. Acquaintances, family members, colleagues
3. It would be socially inappropriate to say no because you know them
4. Having lots of Friends makes you look popular
5. It’s a way of indicating that you are a fan (of that person, band, etc.)
6. Your list of Friends reveals who you are
7. Their Proﬁle is cool so being Friends makes you look cool
8. Collecting Friends lets you see more people (Friendster)
9. It’s the only way to see a private Proﬁle (MySpace)
10. Being Friends lets you see someone’s bulletins and their Friends-only blog
11. You want them to see your bulletins, private Proﬁle, private blog (MySpace)
12. You can use your Friends list to ﬁnd someone later
13. It’s easier to say yes than no.
Saturday, February 6, 2010 11
The friend numbers game
•Large university in the American Midwest.
•First year social statistics class (2009)
•95% Response Rate
•Data captured through Facebook API
•N = 393.
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Too Many Friends!
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And too many connections
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Men with 500 friends only have
mutual conversations with 10 of
them. Its up to 16 for women.
That’s less than 4% of friends.
Source: Economist (via Overstated.net)
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Analysis to the Rescue!
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Trace data can tell a lot
Source: Predicting tie strength with social media.
Eric Gilbert, Karrie Karahalios and Christian Sandvig.
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Tedious and incoherent
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Well partitioned, but
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Large swaths of Sense
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Camp Friends (2%)
Colleagues and Friends (12%)
Intern friends (3%)
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Network as Context in Email
Source: Hansen, D. (forthcoming) Analyzing Social Media with NodeXL, chapter 8.
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Network as context in Twitter
Source: Smith, M. (forthcoming) Analyzing Social Media with NodeXL, chapter 4.
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Networks in Twitter II
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• Lurking within any social network site proﬁle
is a host of clustered peers. Discovering
these groups through community detection is
an effective way to bring coherence to a
proﬁle, and help it scale.
• Consider: planning a party, recommending a
concert, sending out important news.
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Nearness is now a
social property as
much as a spatial one.
This is not the same thing as collaborative
ﬁltering. Networks do not signify
similarity, they signify community. These
are the people that do things together,
disclose information to each other.
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Particular relationships create networks.
Norms of access create overload.
Thinking local is one solution, but it is partial.
We need to create contexts, so users don’t
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Research Fellow, OII
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