Social Structure of Facebook Networks
Physica A, Vol. 391, No. 16: 4165-4180.
39 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011 Last revised: 18 May 2012
Date Written: February 10, 2011
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
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