LiveJournal social networks studied

I happened on a Proceedings of the National Academy of Science story on geography and population density in online social networks.

The article on the PNAS Web site states, "In online communities and other social networks, [scientists] report that any two members can usually find a connection with only a few degrees of separation, partly because individuals tend to optimize friendships geographically. Sociological experiments have shown that social networks are often ‘navigable small worlds,’ in which any person, given only meager information about an arbitrary target person’s geographic location and occupation, can likely transmit a message to the target through a short chain of intermediate friends."

The researchers used data from 500,000 members of the LiveJournal online community, who made available their state and city of residence, as well as a list of other LiveJournal friends. Check it out!

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  1. Community-based voluntary organizations have always relied on social networking to build thier support base. We did networking before networking was cool. But it seems like it’s time to bring that orientation into the 21st century. A lot has been written about social networks in recent years. It wouldn’t hurt to get familiar with the literature. Also, as the recent posts here shown, the internet is probably the most powerfult networking tool of all. But to use it you have to have to change your orientation to connections, not geography, you need to gather intelligence about the multiplicity of sub-networks, and you need to go about developing it in a planned, systematic way.

  2. I was doing research on — a social networking site for college students that’s really taking off — seems like a good tie-in for our college RFL efforts. As this study points out, a few degrees of seperation may be all that’s between a successful college Relay organizer and a prospective one!

  3. Did anyone purchase the study? I would be interested in reading the full text.