Spatio-temporal Footprints in Online Social Networks

Spatio-Temporal Constraints on Social Networks Workshop, University of California, Santa Barbara, Center for Spatial Studies, 13-14 December 2010

Linna Li

“Society is comprised of many different types of social networks on various levels. Social networks play a critical role in achieving goals and solving problems. While traditional social networks only existed within a very limited geographical distance (e.g., villages) constrained by temporal factors, modern technology—especially the growth of the Internet and cell phones—has greatly reduced the spatio-temporal limitations on human communication. People who live on different continents in different time zones can interact with each other using phones, emails, and websites. Particularly, online social networks provide an effective channel to enhance existing social networks and to initiate new ones. Facebook, for example, offers services to create profiles, add friends, and exchange information. Twitter, on the other hand, provides a platform to share and discover “what is happening right now?” Social network websites have been an alternative and complementary form of social networks with a growing number of users.”