Jenavira (jenavira) wrote in blog_sociology,

"Friends" vs. friends

From First Monday, the Internet journal of Internet studies, Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope.

Researchers found that Twitter users don't post more based on how many followers they have/how many people they follow, but based on how many people they actually interact with on a regular basis, a number that isn't strongly correlated with followers/followees. Self-evident to anyone who's been involved in the discussion over whether LJ should really call it a "friends list," I think.

What I'm interested in is this idea they have that it's the people you interact with among your followers/followees (or friends list) who really matter. True, I regularly exchange comments with probably less than 10% of my friends list, but I have people on my flist who regularly post things that make me think, whose posts I look forward to eagerly, and who definitely have an impact on me even though I rarely comment on their entries and they never comment on mine. I suppose the relationship I have with those people isn't strictly social networking, even though we're using a social networking tool to have it.
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This is really interesting. Especially the last chart showing the hidden network of friends within the network of connections. I dread when my friends become "popular" because they tend to stop really communicating. They no longer have time for frequent dialog. A young lady on my friend list several years ago made a post asking if she should post nude photos of herself. I responded that, while it wouldn't bother me personally, her friend list would skyrocket to hundreds, and friends like myself would get lost in the crowd. That was exactly what happened and she is no longer on my friend list. I have also noticed that, as a person's friend list grows on LJ they tend to post less and less.

Whether a specific connection is interactive probably doesn't matter much in the spread of information through that connection. However, the study indicates that the percentage of interactivity tends to effect the frequency of posting. In that regard information should flow quicker through more interactive connections because they are more active.