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Subject: Re: Validity of network ties
From: Don Steiny <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Don Steiny <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 30 Sep 2006 12:31:48 -0700

text/plain (108 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit  *****

	"A tie is anything about which you can tell a story."

		- Harrison White

> *****  To join INSNA, visit  *****
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> On
>> Behalf Of Cora Schaefer
>> Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2006 4:25 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: AW: Validity of network ties
>> *****  To join INSNA, visit  *****
>> Dear all,
>> thanks for the quick replies! I realize I should have been more
> specific.
>> Without having read the suggested literature yet (so please forgive me
> if
>> the issues raised are answered in there), I try to explain more
> precisely
>> what I meant.
>> There's a lot of literature about the outcomes of networks, e.g. the
>> classic
>> example of finding a new job. So, by "real networks" I meant to pose
> the
>> questions if these conclusions could be assumed as well for networks
>> constructed from online data.
>> There two concerns with network data gathered from social network
> sites
>> such
>> as LinkedIn that occurred to me so far: first, I expect there to be
> more
>> network ties in this kind of online data than in questionnaire studies
> as
>> ties accumulate in social network sites. Probably very few people
> "clear
>> out" their ties in their profile. Yet, when asked I don't expect these
>> very
>> weak or maybe "old" ties to be mentioned.
>> Second and this is mentioned by danah boyd, there are some people who
>> collect ties as an end in itself. Besides the point of asking about
> their
>> motivation to do so, I wonder whether these persons can be compared to
>> hubs
>> who know (as in face-to-face knowing or through more extensive
>> communication
>> than the message asking for the tie to be confirmed) their alters.
>> Regards,
>> Cora Schaefer
> I think that a lot of this LinkedIn phenomenon you are seeing can be
> cast mainly as a flaw in the model that LinkedIn has adopted: the notion
> that a tie is "binary", that is, it either exists or it does not, and
> that the only thing that one needs to do is point and click an
> invitation at someone easily found in the system to go from "we have
> absolutely no tie" to "we have the same kind of tie as people I've known
> all my life." There is no notion of a "cost" per tie, for instance, nor
> the notion that one needs to have laid down *some* sort of groundwork
> before a tie can become "operationalized" (that is, sufficiently
> "strong" for it to be a source of traditional "networking"). The lack of
> a feel of "fidelity" when you use their product (at least, this happens
> to me) is, I think, a very good practical example of what happens when a
> model is not a very good match to the reality that it is attempting to
> simulate.
> I think there are better models for a LinkedIn company to adopt, models
> that better match reality; of course I do, since my full disclosure is
> that I work for a company that is attempting to do that very thing. But
> even outside my employment-inspired interest, I think it is going to be
> interesting to see how an attempt to more accurately model the
> real-world social network within social networking software will impact
> the user experience. Maybe it just doesn't matter: maybe social
> networking software is just a tool that provides some services and
> doesn't depend on really being a "model" of the real world at all. *I*
> don't think so, but I want to see this all in side-by-side action just
> for curiosity's sake. It's also going to be a neat testbed for SNA
> concepts.
> Regards,
> Andy
> Dr Andrew J. Cleary
> Director of Algorithms R&D
> Visible Path Corp.
> _____________________________________________________________________
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