Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Sam Ganga, Ian Khan, SmartBear Blog, XebiaLabs Blog, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Blog Feed Post

Karrie Karahalios: Strong and Weak Ties in Social Media

She says that strong ties can be love or hate, although we tend to assume strong ties are positive

Karrie Karahalios is giving a Berkman lunchtime talk entitled “Text and Tie Strength.” Karrie is a Berkman Fellow from the Univ. of Illinois.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

 

“What attracts people most is other people,” said William H. Whyte. People want to sit and talk. But what is the equivalent of a seat in a virtual space. Her group studies visualizations of group interaction. She shows examples, including how voting changes interactions, and how conversations cluster around topics.

Karrie grew up in a small town in Greece. Every Sunday her father would call from America. The call would come to the one phone, which was in a tavern. The people around expected the call and would participate. People use communication media differently in rural and urban areas, she says. E.g., rural communities used to like party lines; it was like a sub-net. Urban folks didn’t and the telephone companies moved to individual lines.

Her group sampled communication usage in rural and urban communities. They had five hypotheses. Rural people would have networks with:

fewer friends and comments

more women

more private profiles

friends are closer geographically

preference for strong ties over weak ties

The results showed that all but the last were true. In part this is because it’s hard to quantify strong and weak ties.

She suggests: Maybe there are two MySpaces: Rural and urban.

To understand weak vs. strong ties, her group explored Facebook. It’s quite binary: someone is either a friend or a stranger. The dog breeder who you met once has the same presence in your FB network as your husband.

Tie strength was invented by Mark Granovetter in the 1970s, in the book Getting a Job. Karrie says: “Strong ties are the people you really trust.” They help people through difficult times. And if a strong tie is depressed, you might get depressed also. “Weak ties are merely acquaintances.” Granovetter pointed out the utility of weak ties in “The Strength of Weak Ties.”

Her group looked at FB and wondered how to map FB parameters to tie strength. They set up a set of questions with continua, e.g., “How strong is your relationship with this person.” They assessed 2,184 friendships, from 35 university students and staff, along 70 parameters. E.g., friend-initiated wall posts, wall words exchanged, friend’s status updates, inbox intimacy words, together in photos, age differences, political differences, mutual friends, groups in common, links exchange by wall, applications in common, positive and negative emotional words, and days since first communication.

Her model had seven elements of tie strength: structure, emotional support, services, social distance, duration, intensity, intimacy. Her findings showed the relative importance of each of these (which I’ve listed in order, from least to most). The most predictive FB element was days since first communication. This may be because the first people you first connect with are the ones you are most tied to, although you may then not use FB for much communication with that person.

Karrie finds it quite interesting when her model doesn’t work. E.g., “This friend is an old ex” who was friended when they first began. She says that strong ties can be love or hate, although we tend to assume strong ties are positive; her model doesn’t include negative strong ties. Also, there are times when someone else’s account is used as a proxy for two others to communicate, e.g., neighbors who are feuding and only communicate through a three year old child’s FB account; Karrie’s model does not account for that.

How might this applied? Suppose you could organize your photos so your strong ties saw one set and your weak ties saw another? Trying to do this by hand is a nightmare.

They did this work in 2008. Then they wondered whether it applied to Twitter. The created wemeddle.com where you can see the people you follow on Twitter. It clusters them by the strength time. Photo colorization and size indicate strength. Karrie says she’s been surprised to find that she’s more interested in what her weak ties tweet.

Her group is studying the quantifiable data (e.g., server logs) but will also interview users.

Q: Your model users linear regression on Facebook?
A: Yes.

Q: How about a geo-map visualization?
Ethanz: Someone recently did this sort of thing for Facebook. There are areas with cross-national friendships and some without many.

Karrie wonders if there is a single model for strong and weak ties that applies to all social media.

Judith Donath adds that following links is a strong signal of a strong tie, which is information that the WeMeddle client could start tracking.

Karrie: In FB, we took advantage of reciprocity as an indicator of tie strength, but reciprocity for Twitter doesn’t work.

Ethanz: Strong vs. weak is so murky. WeMeddle is a very nice provocation. Also: LiveJournal gives you valence, as opposed to FB that only lets you friend or not friend. At FB, every relationship is symmetrical. Twitter is more like celebrity: once you have over a few thousand people, you’re broadcasting. It’d be interesting to look at tech that enables a strong-weak tie continuum.

Karrie: There’s lots of lit on info flow, but not on how the strength of ties influences how you send info out across the network.

Judith: We’re all fooled by the asymmetry of Twitter, which makes for a bizarre set of ties. WeMeddle and your model might help us make sense of it.

Donnie Dong: Could WeMeddle combine FB and Twitter?
A: Yes, it’s possible. People would have to put in both logins.
Donnie: Twitter and FB are blocked in China. It’d be interesting to look at people who communities inside or outside the Wall.

Q: Have you looked at email? And have you looked at the connections among people twittering about disasters?
A: We haven’t looked at either of those things. Disaster relief would be fascinating to look at.
Ethan: There’s a report that during the Iranian uprising, there were only 60 Iranians tweeting, and the rest were Americans retweeting.

Q: Can you track how people gain trust, to move from outer circle to inner circle?
A: The trust problem is really hard. Trust with text — the literature hasn’t been very complete. With 140 chars you don’t get a lot of queues. On the other hand, looking at reputation systems might get you somewhere. I wish I had a better answer for you…

Q: [me] Doesn’t this suggest that strong and weak ties is too much of a polarity for the Web?
A: It suggests that trust doesn’t map to strong and weak. There may be several types of strong and weak ties.

Judith: Granovetter was really interested in homogeneous and heterogeneous ties.

Ethanz: Maybe look at John Kelly’s work on how blogs link to third parties. Look to see what everyone links to. You’ve got all the data, but if you grab the links people are linking to, you can imagine another way of clustering people.

Karrie: There’s lots of work recently about how information gets dispersed. E.g., to spread info quickly it’s better to have a network of people who believe things easily than having one large influencer. Also, it’d be very interesting to map people by complementarity, not just similarity. Overall, I’m really interested in how these ties evolve over time.

Wendy Seltzer: You could look at contextual work (a la Nissanbaum). E.g., do people name their groups at WeMeddle the same way, and how do people move people in and out of groups.
A: There’s a set of privacy questions. Suppose people publish the list of their inner circle. Why aren’t I on it? I don’t want to destroy any relationships with this work. What attracts people the most is other people.

More Stories By David Weinberger

David is the author of JOHO the blog (www.hyperorg.com/blogger). He is an independent marketing consultant and a frequent speaker at various conferences. "All I can promise is that I will be honest with you and never write something I don't believe in because someone is paying me as part of a relationship you don't know about. Put differently: All I'll hide are the irrelevancies."

@ThingsExpo Stories
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.