funny ... I came across some sources that concern the importance of social networking:
The “New” Science of Networks
Duncan J. Watts
Department of Sociology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027; Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico 97501; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years, the analysis and modeling of networks, and also networked dynamical systems, have been the subject of considerable interdisciplinary interest, yielding several hundred papers in physics, mathematics, computer science, biology, economics, and sociology journals (Newman 2003c), as well as a number of books (Barabasi 2002, Buchanan 2002, Watts 2003). Here I review the major findings of this emerging field and discuss briefly their relationship with previous work in the social and mathematical sciences.
Social Implications of the Internet
Paul DiMaggio1, Eszter Hargittai1, W. Russell Neuman2, and John P. Robinson3
1Department of Sociology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08540; e-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
2Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104; e-mail: email@example.com
3Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Internet is a critically important research site for sociologists testing theories of technology diffusion and media effects, particularly because it is a medium uniquely capable of integrating modes of communication and forms of content. Current research tends to focus on the Internet's implications in five domains: 1) inequality (the “digital divide”); 2) community and social capital; 3) political participation; 4) organizations and other economic institutions; and 5) cultural participation and cultural diversity. A recurrent theme across domains is that the Internet tends to complement rather than displace existing media and patterns of behavior. Thus in each domain, utopian claims and dystopic warnings based on extrapolations from technical possibilities have given way to more nuanced and circumscribed understandings of how Internet use adapts to existing patterns, permits certain innovations, and reinforces particular kinds of change. Moreover, in each domain the ultimate social implications of this new technology depend on economic, legal, and policy decisions that are shaping the Internet as it becomes institutionalized. Sociologists need to study the Internet more actively and, particularly, to synthesize research findings on individual user behavior with macroscopic analyses of institutional and political-economic factors that constrain that behavior.
Birds of a Feather: Homophily in Social Networks
Miller McPherson1, Lynn Smith-Lovin1, and James M Cook2
1Department of Sociology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721; e-mail: email@example.com ;firstname.lastname@example.org
2Department of Sociology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708; e-mail: email@example.com
Similarity breeds connection. This principle—the homophily principle—structures network ties of every type, including marriage, friendship, work, advice, support, information transfer, exchange, comembership, and other types of relationship. The result is that people's personal networks are homogeneous with regard to many sociodemographic, behavioral, and intrapersonal characteristics. Homophily limits people's social worlds in a way that has powerful implications for the information they receive, the attitudes they form, and the interactions they experience. Homophily in race and ethnicity creates the strongest divides in our personal environments, with age, religion, education, occupation, and gender following in roughly that order. Geographic propinquity, families, organizations, and isomorphic positions in social systems all create contexts in which homophilous relations form. Ties between nonsimilar individuals also dissolve at a higher rate, which sets the stage for the formation of niches (localized positions) within social space. We argue for more research on: (a) the basic ecological processes that link organizations, associations, cultural communities, social movements, and many other social forms; (b) the impact of multiplex ties on the patterns of homophily; and (c) the dynamics of network change over time through which networks and other social entities co-evolve.