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Dear Peter,
if you want to read something coming from a computer science point of
view on ONLINE social networks, you can read these papers:

- Backstrom et al. (2010) "Find me if you can: improving geographical
prediction with social and spatial proximity"
- Scellato et al. (2010) "Distance matters: geo-social metrics for
online social networks"

We have also an upcoming paper to be presented at ICWSM 2011:
"Socio-spatial Properties of Online Location-based Social Networks".
It's not available online yet, but I have a link on my webpage.

Good luck with your research.

Salvatore Scellato - Ph.D. Student
Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

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