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I think that the movie actor database network is a particularly bad
example of a social network studied by physicists/computer scientists.
Others have been studied and show just these types of fat-tailed
distributions. For example: the scientist co-authorship network of Newman,
the e-mail interchange network (Guimera et al. Eckmann et al.) or the PGP
trust network. In these cases I think it is difficult to argue that the
link definition does not represent a real interaction.
I think that there are two main reasons as to why people from social
science and physicists dont interact as much as they should. The first is
conceptual: the physics approach to networks centers on the global
properties and large scale organisation, while the social science approach
is more individual based. Therefore physicists tend to study datasets with
large numbers of nodes, while sociologists are content studying smaller
networks. The other reason is educational. As a physicist, I find it much
more demanding to read a sociology paper than I do reading a physics paper
and I'm sure it's the case the other way around. I also think that the
some really interesting research is/will be right at the interface between
the two approaches.
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