roundtable followup, 19.1.2012

Posted by Jon Crowcroft

we had a roundtable followup to the social nets discussion day -my 4 cents were

1. why don't we build more things to test our theorie?

2 . these things might be new socieities...e.g. fit-for-purpose replacements for socialism and free market capitalism


3. how about we have a new way to do inter-disciplinary research in this area, using social networks to do the research???


People need to read more - for example, when I look at The Rational OPtimist, by Matt Ridley, I discover that he seems completely unaware of the work by Marcel Mauss nearly 100 years ago on The Gift, which covers all the ideas Ridley thinks he's made up about exchange! I discover that people don't know the work by Mancur Olsen on the Logic of Collective Action from 50 years ago. Even people who've heard of Dunbar's number, don't read Gossip, Grooming and the Evolution of Language.


More essential readings

Michael Kearns work on Graphs&Games


Edward Cherry, On Human Communication (probably out of print....)

Lots of John Doyle's work on Highly Optimised Tolerant systems....


etc etc - maybe I should write a book about it:)


some people asked about our (CL work in social nets in RL and online - there are various papers from the project (some by Dunbar et al linked at

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quick summary of afternoon sessions

Posted by Jon Crowcroft

1. social science is nearly as dismal as economics

a) they couldn't predict the arab spring

b) even given all the twitter data, they can't even _explain_ the past of the arab spring, let alone build a model that predicts the future

c) they don't bother looking at places where there WASNT an arab spring (e.g. EU countries like spain, greece, ireland, where occupy/indigandos movements were MUCH stronger and online, but have not led to any political change, in fact so far, probably the opposite:(


2. no-one has thought that the online social nets technology (and web in general) might actually make completely new forms of government possible other than socialist or capitalist democracy, religious states, or dictatorships (do I hear you say cyber-syndical anarchism?)


Doesn;t any one in this community think big (e.g. Kropotkin, Marx, etc) even terry eagleton who is about a million years old is smarter:)


3. I find it depressing that social scientists think academics do research for fame (i.e. impact) rather than an altruistic model, or even just plain curiosity...are they so reductionist that the world splits into commercial motives or personal ego-soothing ? maybe it does in their disciple - maybe that's why it  isn't really a discipline:)



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morning sessions at event today on social nets run by Assyst

Posted by Jon Crowcroft

This event:

Organised by:
Bernardo Huberman (HP)  - Getting Attention1. In last decade, web moved from download to 2-way2, Everyone has a megaphone (the interweb is one big ethernet?:-)3. attention is therefore the scarce resource attention is a coordination/rendezvous/synch mechanism anything except attention can be commodotized defn: attention in social terms (pagerank)4. Looking at this, we can build predictors and make money...5. Looked at Attention Seeking behaviours... doesn't matter if its your friends who applaud
Sanjeev Goyal - Contagion1. random v. smart attacks2. central v. distributed Net designer3. Design for resilience
Q (BH). can we filter spam on this basis/cost?(c.f. Ross work - can't afford email anymore) ------>
Maxi San Miguel  (IFISC) What can we learn from simple social behaviour models
isolate interaction mechanisms and find collective effectsfind causal relationsips...
one example: random imitation role of topology co-evolution heterogeneity in timing of interactionsExample: voters - imitation dynamics abosrbing states (all coloured red/green) when&how do we get (what about metastable case/oscillitory?) results anayltical for regular nets show ordering... in complex nets (small world or BA etc) , can get  non stable soln long range ties don't ctually help reachign agreement, counter-intuitive critical beaviour determined by mean node degree (c.f. haggle)dynamics of net (formation) & on the net (usage) but can we have co-evolution of agents and netrightwing view is net determis individual chocesleftwin view is individals constrined by social net :-) co-evol has model of agent/link changing/selected with distribution re-wiring rate v. use rate has critical phase changesheterogeneity in timing of individual activitie... empirically, we don't work at constant rate... so include a notion of node-specific internal  time..
Keys dimenaionality coevolution timingTakehomes strong messages dont homogenize, but polarize social interaction can lead to consenss different from external message
Martin Everett - Manchester - dual project for 2 mode data
2 distinct groups - interaction netween group, not users in each group e.g. wikipedia & postersexample dataset women & southern events...problem - projection can lose data can we do directly? not necessarily...turns out (math says) there isn't much loss... can do SVD  makes it easy to find core/key eents,  and key people in women/southern fried chicken e.g. and various other clustering things...can use this to find centrality- discover key agents in women getting other women to events
takehome -  ignore incorrect folkore about losing info in this approach...

Ross Anderson (CL) Temporal Node Centrality - work with hyoungschick kim


starting with attacks/defense on scale free net hubs etc....


results in papers by Hyoungschick et a...



Cecilia Mascolo (CL) Geo-spatial

Case study - add in geo-info (like foursquare) - with geo-tagging of postsm can see where messages/interactions occur.


questions of interest -

1. relation twixt geo-distance and social distance - for example

2. distance and degree

Applications - can we exploit geo-spatial info to build better social apps and systems?

1. link prediction....

2. movement model/prediction

Q&A for morning session chaired by Y.T. (for readers of snow crash:)


Someone more sociable than I can blog the pm:)

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