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Facebook become a subject of social network research

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/17/style/17facebook.html

A team of researchers from Harvard and the University of California, Los Angeles, are monitoring the Facebook profiles of an entire class of students at a college to study how personal tastes and habits affect the social relationships, vice versa. Although it might be controversial due to privacy concerns, Facebook’s network of 58 million active users have made it an irresistible subject for many types of academic research.

 
Specifically, researchers are observing Facebook pages to test academic theories in their specialties about relationships, identity, popularity, race and political engagement. One study has found that while someone who has a high number of friends is considered popular and attractive, people who accumulate “too many” friends are seen as insecure. Another study, conducted by Nicole Ellision, shows that Facebook use could have a positive impact on students’ well-being. She also mentions “weak ties”, saying these are important because they provide people with new perspectives and opportunities that they might not get from close people; Facebook friend is a perfect example of a weak tie. Lastly, Harvard-UCLA team is investigating a concept triadic closure, about which we have learned in class that how it can fill in missing ties, strengthen, and predict a network.

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