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County Ties and Consequences


This article describes social networks in state counties based on their facebook county friendships. The basis of the article’s research is analyzing how closely tied people are in their county in America through their Facebook friendships. By analyzing each county in this manner, scientists have noticed certain trends in the data that characterize how each county is different. One example that the article mentions is how people in counties in places like Chicago and Milwaukee still have ties to people in Southern counties. This trend can be traced back to the Great Migration where people traveled to the North for more industrial jobs. However, this study has also pointed out that counties that are geographically isolated “are more likely to have lower labor force participation and economic mobility, and they have higher rates of teenage births…” when compared to counties with connections to many other counties. This highlights the importance of social networks and how they can influence the people living within their network. 


In class, we discussed the idea of components of networks and how easily weak ties can be formed or broken. We discussed examples like Zachary’s karate group, and how network components easily shift and change. In our homework, we also discussed how the strong triadic closure property can be used to identify spambots by looking at the triangles formed within a group. This article shows that on a larger scale what may seem like insignificant ties can actually have far-reaching consequences. Perhaps if people in smaller towns in isolated states like North Dakota had the opportunity to form ties with people in other states due to job creation or something along those lines, the previously mentioned rates of teenage pregnancy and lower labor force participation could change. This article highlights the far-reaching consequences of what we learn in the Networks class.


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September 2019