Toward Understanding Friendship in Online Social Networks

By Dmitry Zinoviev and Vy Duong.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

All major on-line social networks, such as MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, and Orkut, are built around the concept of friendship. It is not uncommon for a social network participant to have over 100 friends. A natural question arises: are they all real friends of hers, or does she mean something different when she calls them “friends?” Speaking in other words, what is the relationship between off-line (real, traditional) friendship and its on-line (virtual) namesake? In this paper, we use sociological data to suggest that there is a significant difference between the concepts of virtual and real friendships. We further investigate the structure of on-line friendship and observe that it follows the Pareto (or double Pareto) distribution and is subject to age stratification but not to gender segregation. We introduce the concept of digital personality that quantifies the willingness of a social network participant to engage in virtual friendships.

Keywords: Online Social Networks, Friendship, Age Stratification

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.375MB).

Prof. Dmitry Zinoviev

Associate Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science, Suffolk Univeristy, Boston, MA, USA

Dmitry Zinoviev graduated from Moscow State University (M.S. in Physics) and State University of New York at Stony Brook (PhD in Computer Science). His research interests include Social Informatics, Computer Modeling and Simulation, and Distributed Systems.

Vy Duong

Undergraduate Student, Mathematics and Computer Science, Suffolk University, Boston, MA, USA

Vy Duong is an undergraduate student of Suffolk University double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. She is a recipient of the undergraduate research assistantship provided by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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