Social Structure of Facebook Networks

Physica A, Vol. 391, No. 16: 4165-4180.

39 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011 Last revised: 18 May 2012

Amanda L. Traud

North Carolina State University

Peter J. Mucha

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Mason Alexander Porter

University of Oxford

Date Written: February 10, 2011

Abstract

We study the social structure of Facebook ‘‘friendship’’ networks at one hundred American colleges and universities at a single point in time, and we examine the roles of user attributes -- gender, class year, major, high school, and residence -- at these institutions. We investigate the influence of common attributes at the dyad level in terms of assortativity coefficients and regression models. We then examine larger-scale groupings by detecting communities algorithmically and comparing them to network partitions based on user characteristics. We thereby examine the relative importance of different characteristics at different institutions, finding for example that common high school is more important to the social organization of large institutions and that the importance of common major varies significantly between institutions. Our calculations illustrate how microscopic and macroscopic perspectives give complementary insights on the social organization at universities and suggest future studies to investigate such phenomena further.

Keywords: Facebook, online social networks, social networking sites, community structure, ERGMs

Suggested Citation

Traud, Amanda L. and Mucha, Peter J. and Porter, Mason Alexander, Social Structure of Facebook Networks (February 10, 2011). Physica A, Vol. 391, No. 16: 4165-4180.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1470768 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1470768

Amanda L. Traud

North Carolina State University ( email )

Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States

Peter J. Mucha

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Mason Alexander Porter (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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