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Online Social Networks by Robin I.M. Dunbar, Marco Conti, Andrea Passarella, Valerio Arnaboldi

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Chapter 1

Introduction

Abstract

In this chapter, we introduce the concept of ‘social network’, and we provide an intuitive and sharp distinction between ‘offline’ and ‘online’ social networks. Then, we describe the main features of Facebook and Twitter, the two online social networks (OSNs) discussed in this book. We show how they are actively contributing to the cyber-physical world convergence, and we motivate the need of novel analyses on the structural properties of OSNs. These are important for understanding human social behaviour in general, and for the creation of novel online social networking platforms that are more centred on human social needs. In particular, the analysis of personal social networks of individuals (called ‘ego networks’) ...

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