We present a study of the relationship between gender, linguistic style, and social networks, using a novel corpus of 14,000 users of Twitter. Prior quantitative work on gender often treats this social variable as a binary; we argue for a more nuanced approach. By clustering Twitter feeds, we find a range of styles and interests that reflects the multifaceted interaction between gender and language. Some styles mirror the aggregated language-gender statistics, while others contradict them. Next, we investigate individuals whose language better matches the other gender. We find that such individuals have social networks that include significantly more individuals from the other gender, and that in general, social network homophily is correlated with the use of same-gender language markers. Pairing computational methods and social theory thus offers a new perspective on how gender emerges as individuals position themselves relative to audiences, topics, and mainstream gender norms.
Computer scientists at the University of Glasgow are participating in a new project to develop a search engine which will draw its results from sensors located in the physical world.
As the Internet continues to expand, public access to net-connected sensors such as cameras and microphone arrays is increasing. The European-funded project, known as SMART, for ‘Search engine for MultimediA Environment geneRated content’, aims to develop and implement a system to allow internet users to search and analyze data from these sensors.
By matching search queries with information from sensors and cross-referencing data from social networks , such as Twitter, users will be able to receive detailed responses to questions such as ‘What part of the city hosts live music events which my friends have been to recently?’ or ‘How busy is the city center?’ Currently, standard search engines such as Google are not able to answer search queries of this type.
Excerpt of an article at R&Dmag. Continue HERE
Image via Scottish Sensor Systems Centre
In an age when Internet devices are always on, meeting face-to-face is becoming increasingly rare as people choose to meet screen-to-screen. Goldfield wants to know what this new dynamic is doing to normal social interaction? How do these devices and social media services, such as Facebook, affect the way we socialize and communicate with each other?
But, more than that, what impact do these social networks have on their user’s mental health?
Murray and Goldfield have teamed up and have scraped together funding to conduct a study this summer examining the impact Facebook has on people’s mental health and their everyday lives and interactions.
They aren’t alone.
John Lyons, director of CHEO’s mental-health research group, has applied to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for a grant to conduct his own study into the topic. However, Lyon’s study will be laser focused. With so much anecdotal evidence about the effects of cyberbullying and online taunts, he wants to know what role social media plays in a person’s decision to end their life, and if there is a way to leverage social technologies to reach out to people considering suicide.
“It’s becoming the medium by which young people communicate with each other. It’s a pretty significant social change,” said Lyons. “There are some very valuable things about social media and networking, and there are also some dangers. Historically, the (societal) changes have been in musical taste and style of dress. Now it has to do with technology and the use of technology to deal with social relations. It’s so fast moving and there is so much going on that it’s rather complicated to figure out the good and the bad aspects of it.”
Excerpt of an article by Vito Pilieci at The Gazette. Read HERE
Transcendenz offers to connect our everyday life to an invisible reality, the one of ideas, concepts and philosophical questionings which the world is full of but that our eyes cant’ see. By bringing together the concepts of augmented/altered reality, Brain Computer Interface (BCI) and social networks, Transcendenz offers to live immersive philosophical experiences.
Transcendenz is the outcome of Michaël Harboun’s thesis project at Strate College. He started from a single, inspirational word: Invisible. He says: “After analysing what was invisible to our eyes and our minds, I realized there was something tending to disappear in our fast-paced, information-saturated societies…”
“The idea of Transcendenz came from a personal “design reaction” to the world in which we are living. By observing our modern societies, a certain paradox caught my interest. This paradox concerns the way we behave in time.
On one hand we are constantly trying to be efficient, organized and quick. As time is money, no time should be lost unnecessarily. We try to save every single minute and be as productive as possible, which makes us busy people.
On the other hand, in our free time, we suddenly have so much time for ourselves that we don’t know what to do with it anymore. Not knowing where to invest our time, most of us will consume it throughout technological mediums. Social networks, TV or videogames are some perfect examples. These information technologies put us in a time of connection, interaction and distraction, hence separating us from the empty time.”
Continuing from the Dawn of Social Networks: Ancestors May Have Formed Ties With Both Kin and Non-Kin Based On Shared Attributes. HERE
If you ever sit back and wonder what it might have been like to live in the late Pleistocene, you’re not alone. That’s right about when humans emerged from a severe population bottleneck and began to expand globally. But, apparently, life back then might not have been too different than how we live today (that is, without the cars, the written language, and of course, the smartphone). In this week’s Nature, a group of researchers suggest that we share many social characteristics with humans that lived in the late Pleistocene, and that these ancient humans may have paved the way for us to cooperate with each other.
Modern human social networks share several features, whether they operate within a group of schoolchildren in San Francisco or a community of millworkers in Bulgaria. The number of social ties a person has, the probability that two of a person’s friends are also friends, and the inclination for similar people to be connected are all very regular across groups of people living very different lives in far-flung places.
So, the researchers asked, are these traits universal to all groups of humans, or are they merely byproducts of our modern world? They also wanted to understand the social network traits that allowed cooperation to develop in ancient communities.
Written by By Kate Shaw, Ars Technica. Continue on Wired HERE
Ancient humans may not have had the luxury of updating their Facebook status, but social networks were nevertheless an essential component of their lives, a new study suggests.
The study’s findings describe elements of social network structures that may have been present early in human history, suggesting how our ancestors may have formed ties with both kin and non-kin based on shared attributes, including the tendency to cooperate. According to the paper, social networks likely contributed to the evolution of cooperation.
“The astonishing thing is that ancient human social networks so very much resemble what we see today,” said Nicholas Christakis, professor of medical sociology and medicine at Harvard Medical School and professor of sociology in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and senior author on the study. “From the time we were around campfires and had words floating through the air, to today when we have digital packets floating through the ether, we’ve made networks of basically the same kind.”
“We found that what modern people are doing with online social networks is what we’ve always done — not just before Facebook, but before agriculture,” said study co-author James Fowler, professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of California, San Diego, who, with Christakis, has authored a number of seminal studies of human social networks.
Via Science Daily. Continue HERE
Image above: The Hadza of Tanzania live as hunter-gatherers. (Credit: Courtesy of Coren Apicella/Harvard Medical School)
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