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Simmelian Backbones: Amplifying Hidden Homophily in Facebook Networks

Authors: 

Bobo Nick, Conrad Lee, Pádraig Cunningham, Ulrik Brandes

Publication Type: 
Refereed Conference Meeting Proceeding
Abstract: 
Empirical social networks are often aggregate proxies for several heterogeneous relations. In online social networks, for instance, interactions related to friendship, kinship, business, interests, and other relationships may all be represented as catchall “friendships.” Because several relations are mingled into one, the resulting networks exhibit relatively high and uniform density. As a consequence, the variation in positional differences and local cohesion may be too small for reliable analysis. We introduce a method to identify the essential relationships in networks representing social interactions. Our method is based on a novel concept of triadic cohesion that is motivated by Simmel’s concept of membership in social groups. We demonstrate that our Simmelian backbones are capable of extracting structure from Facebook interaction networks that makes them easy to visualize and analyze. Since all computations are local, the method can be restricted to partial networks such as ego networks, and scales to big data.
Conference Name: 
2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining
Proceedings: 
2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): 
10.na
Publication Date: 
25/08/2013
Conference Location: 
Canada
Institution: 
National University of Ireland, Dublin (UCD)
Open access repository: 
No
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