About Me

!nversed Poignancy!

...I am an eclectic amalgamation of many seemingly paradoxical things. This can be exemplified in both my seemingly endless persistance on many topics and arguments, as well as my careful cautiousness on other topics and arguments. This is largely due to how astute I am of the topic: more knowledge, more persistant; less knowledge, obviously more cautious. I also have times of obsessive compulsions regarding certain things (mostly just my thoughts, however)...

Life and Death

!nversed Poignancy!

Life

An assembly

Possibly impossible

Perfectly interchangeable..

Death

That lives most upright

Beyond the unspoken

Neither a squiggle nor a quibble..

She and Me

!nversed Poignancy!

She

A daffodil

Tyrannizer of me

Breaking the colors of dusk!..

Me

The rising sun

Infringed with violations

The impurity in the salt..

Love and Poetry!

!nversed Poignancy!

Love

A puerile desire

Buried in the heart

Never leaves..

Poetry

Sentimentally melodramatic

Cursively recursive

My thoughts idiotic!

The Socially "Real" Network!?

Scribbled by Bharath C On March 21, 2010
All too frequently, someone makes a comment about how a large number of Facebook Friends must mean a high degree of social capital. Or how we can determine who is closest to who by measuring their email messages. Or that the Dunbar number can explain the average number of Facebook friends. These are just three examples of how people mistakenly assume that 1) any social network that can be boiled down to a graph can be compared and 2) any theory of social networks is transitive to any graph representing connections between people. Such mistaken views result in broad misinterpretations of social networks and social network sites. Yet, time and time again, I hear problematic assumptions so let me start with some claims:
1. Not all social networks are the same.
2. You cannot assume network transitivity.
3. You cannot assume that properties that hold for one network apply to other networks

To address this, I want to begin by mapping out three distinct ways of modeling a social network. These are not the only ways of modeling a social network, but they are three common ways that are often collapsed in public discourse.
(a) As a Sociological "personal" Netwrok
(b) Behavioural Social Networks
(c)Publicly articulated social networks

At this point, I would hope that most of us would realize that Friends != friends. In other words, who you connect to on Facebook or MySpace or Twitter is not the same list of people that you would say constitute your closest and dearest. The practice of publicly articulating one’s social network can be quite fraught because there are social costs to the process of public articulation. Issues of reciprocity emerge and people find themselves doing a lot of face-work to navigate the sticky nature of having to account for their social relations in a publicly accountable way. Thus, the list of who you might list as a Friend is often a mix of friends, acquaintances, family members, people from your past, fans, professional colleagues, familiar strangers, and people you don’t particularly like but don’t want to offend. Oh and the occasional celebrity you think is interesting.

These networks are NOT the same. Your mother may play a significant role in your personal network but, behaviorally, your strongest tie might be the person who works in the cube next to you. And neither of these folks might be links on your Facebook for any number of reasons.

Our instinct then is to ask: which is the “real” social network? Frankly, it depends on who you ask. Your mother may be cranky that you don’t talk to her as often as your colleague and she may resent your refusal to Friend her on Facebook, but this doesn’t mean you love her any less. Of course, this doesn’t stop her from thinking you don’t love her. If we’re trying to understand emotional affinity, the behavioral and publicly articulated social networks aren’t particularly helpful. But if you’re mother thinks that time is not only a proxy for emotional depth but a proof of it, your behavioral social network might really upset her.

The truth of the matter is that there is no “real” social network. It all depends on what you’re trying to measure, what you’re trying to do with those measurements.

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