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My work suggests email networks give you information on the strong tie
network (whether for work or social interaction), but it's not going to
give you weak tie info. That's coming from looking at reported use of all
media, and the evidence that as the tie gets stronger, pairs use more
media to communicate, and media get added in the same order within any
particular group.

Email is not (usually) the first avenue of contact -- a means that ties
the whole environment gets used first -- eg ftf meetings for co-located
groups, or a distance group might use a bulletin board first. However, if
email was used for the group as a whole as the 'default' means of
communication, it might show that wider network. (Stronger ties then being
evident by frequency of contact). So it really depends how email is used
what aspect of the "real" social network it is likely to reflect.

/Caroline

----------------------
Caroline Haythornthwaite
GSLIS, UIUC


On Fri, 21 Mar 2003, Valdis wrote:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****
>
> Interesting article about mining social networks from email traffic.
>
> $64,000 question:  Is email traffic an accurate proxy for actual
> relationships?
>
> http://www.nature.com/nsu/030317/030317-5.html
>
> Valdis
>
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