***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
These ties are valid, and (of course) real, as real as many of the networks
we gather through other means. How 'real' is the network where you ask
everyone in the company the three people they go to for advice? Or ask
individuals to name the people they are at least somewhat close to (where on
a bad day people might say 15 people and a good day 25).
[shameless plug: The May 2007 issue of Field Methods is all about Personal
Networks, and I've got an article coming out in there on visual name
generators. Yes, I think those networks are real, too!]
I'd like to throw a curve ball: Its not about the ontology of the networks
(or even whether they match up with offline networks). Its about the logic
that underlies tie formation and maintenance in this context. Why do people
add ties? How do they keep up on them?
If the majority of people in this space use a logic for adding, maintaining
and accessing ties that is far from the logic of maintaining ties offline
then you have a cyberspace/ virtual community / whatever. But if people are
adding their friends, people they met at a party through friends of friends,
or through business meetings then there is a logic of tie formation online
and offline that work together.
What sort of logic would be different from offline? I can't give all the
differences here, but here's some I've thought about and read about. Online
people add ties to get around privacy filters (for example, you're chatting
one and want to see that person's pictures). Some indeed collect friends
online because of status, and wear their friends' icons like badges. Adding
a friend because you want to learn about that person before making too much
contact. Another different logic - friends have a decay function in real
life - don't see your friend for 7 years, well, he's probably not really
your bestest buddy anymore. 7 years later in myspace if you don't delete
your profile, then we're still friends.
Moreover, we have to deal with tie strength - something that's implied in
offline research, but lacking in this context. To find the significant
individuals online, there are additional cues, such as who comments on who's
profile, how often, who's on a top 8 (in MySpace).
Hope that helps,
PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology
Research Coordinator, NetLab
University of Toronto
I received a message from Cora Schaefer at approximately 9/30/06 7:24 AM.
Above is my reply.
> ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
> Dear all,
> thanks for the quick replies! I realize I should have been more specific.
> Without having read the suggested literature yet (so please forgive me if
> the issues raised are answered in there), I try to explain more precisely
> what I meant.
> There's a lot of literature about the outcomes of networks, e.g. the classic
> example of finding a new job. So, by "real networks" I meant to pose the
> questions if these conclusions could be assumed as well for networks
> constructed from online data.
> There two concerns with network data gathered from social network sites such
> as LinkedIn that occurred to me so far: first, I expect there to be more
> network ties in this kind of online data than in questionnaire studies as
> ties accumulate in social network sites. Probably very few people "clear
> out" their ties in their profile. Yet, when asked I don't expect these very
> weak or maybe "old" ties to be mentioned.
> Second and this is mentioned by danah boyd, there are some people who
> collect ties as an end in itself. Besides the point of asking about their
> motivation to do so, I wonder whether these persons can be compared to hubs
> who know (as in face-to-face knowing or through more extensive communication
> than the message asking for the tie to be confirmed) their alters.
> Cora Schaefer
>> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>> Von: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im
>> Auftrag von Ilan Talmud
>> Gesendet: Samstag, 30. September 2006 09:06
>> An: [log in to unmask]
>> Betreff: Re: Validity of network ties
>> ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
>> Dear Cora:
>> In this study, we gather info on both online and offline relations, using
>> survey name generator.
>> 1.. * Mesch, Gustavo and Ilan Talmud "The Impact of Online Relations on
>> Homophily: A Social Network Analysis" Journal of Research on Adolescence
>> 2.. * Mesch, Gustavo and Ilan Talmud. 2006. "The Quality of Online and
>> Offline Relationships, the role of multiplexity and duration". The
>> Information Society, 22(3),
>> 3.. * Mesch, Gustavo and Ilan Talmud. "Internet, Networks and Homophily:
>> Dyadic Analysis" The International Journal of Internet Studies (in press)
>> In a current study we are analyzing now, we use panel data to infer
>> causality more precisely. The Impact of Social Network and Internet
>> Connectivity on Place Attachment and Political Involvement: A Comparative
>> and Longitudinal Analysis in Israel and in the United States (BSF Grant:
>> 2003-2006) (with Gustavo Mesch and Keith Hampton) See:
>> http://soc.haifa.ac.il/~talmud/bsf.pdf Project Site:
>> Ilan Talmud, Ph.D.
>> Senior Lecturer
>> Department of Sociology and Anthropology,\
>> University of Haifa
>> Phones: 972-4--8240992 (direct)
>> 972-4-8240995 / 8249505 (secretaries)
>> Fax: 972-4-8240819
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Cora Schaefer" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 5:25 PM
>> Subject: Validity of network ties
>>> ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
>>> Dear all,
>>> the discussion here on network structure and patterns was very
>>> In a similar vein, I'm trying to find literature that discuss the
>>> of infering "real" social networks from online data.
>>> A search on google.scholar did not turn up much. I've read the articles
>>> danah boyd about the public displays of connection and wonder if there
>>> similar articles. Can somebody point me in this direction?
>>> Thanks a lot in advance!
>>> Cora Schaefer
>>> Dipl.-Psych. Cora Schaefer
>>> Informationsdienste und elektronische Märkte
>>> Fakultät für Wirtschaftwissenschaften
>>> Universität Karlsruhe (TH)
>>> D - 76128 Karlsruhe
>>> Gebäude 20.20 RZ (Raum 152), Zirkel 2
>>> Telefon: +49.721.608-8444
>>> Telefax: +49.721.608-8403
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
>>> network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
>>> an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
>>> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
>> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
>> network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
>> an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
>> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
> network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
> an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.