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The Never Ending Quest for Data

Luc Legay's Social Network

Radial Representation of a Social Network

Finding good data in this field is difficult, even most of the academic literature references relatively small networks of less than 100 or so individuals. I suggest that the academic research is just starting to take off now (although the field is very far from new), because of availability of large real world datasets available in the social networking sites.

Nathan Eagle (Reality Mining at MIT) was kind enough to share 330,000 hours of proximity and cell phone communications data he and the team collected from volunteers over the course of the project. To say I am quite excited about digging into it, would be an dramatic understatement.

For other large data sets, Duncan Watts is spending his sabbatical over at Yahoo!, and I can only hope there are other people looking really hard at the data available there, Facebook, Hi5, Google, and many more. Research into people’s behavior, especially in a commercial setting is not only a great thing for the unprecedented data, but at least equally as important, this also brings to front the ethical implications.

[Image: Luc Legay‘s Facebook network]

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