Close Relationships: A Study of Mobile Communication Records
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Mobile phone communication as digital service generates ever-increasing datasets of human communication actions, which in turn allow us to investigate the structure and evolution of social interactions and their networks. These datasets can be used to study the structuring of such egocentric networks with respect to the strength of the relationships by assuming direct dependence of the communication intensity on the strength of the social tie. Recently we have discovered that there are significant differences between the first and further “best friends” from the point of view of age and gender preferences. Here we introduce a control parameter p max based on the statistics of communication with the first and second “best friend” and use it to filter the data. We find that when p max is decreased the identification of the “best friend” becomes less ambiguous and the earlier observed effects get stronger, thus corroborating them.
KeywordsComplex systems Social networks Close relationships
We thank A.-L. Barabási for providing access to the dataset used in this research. Financial support from EU’s 7th Framework Program FET-Open to ICTeCollective project no. 238597 and by the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Center of Excellence program, project no. 129670, and TEKES (FiDiPro) are gratefully acknowledged. RIMD is supported by a European Research Council Advanced grant.
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