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Social networks and big data

from historical sources to social media

Christophe Prieur,
Liafa, Univ. Paris-Diderot

SAMM seminar


29 nov. 2013

Big surveillance

Research in social sciences

1st year class of sociology in Univ. Pantheon Sorbonne

Research in computer science

WWW 2010 conference

Which horizon for our research?

Design is politics

Retweeting, old-style

Cascades of retweets

Crash of the Air France flight,
Kwak et al, 2010

Retweet button, since 2010

old style
retweet button

Inferring spreads

Side-effect: measures on users

For a given url...

Two ways to explain a retweet

A spread

Twitter users

What is Twitter?

Kwak et al, WWW, apr. 2010

What is Twitter?

Kevin Thau, Twitter's VP, sept. 2010

Classification of users

kmeans with activity variables: tweets, urls, rt, at

tweets urls rtis_rt atis_at
  • correlation atis_at
  • is_rtat

information via sociability


  • Follow users across / inside clusters

    clusters are stable along time

  • Adding diffusion-related variables

    sources, amplifiers, etc.

A mixed research framework

  • in collaboration with CSA poll agency
  • a sample of 1000 representative internet users
  • large-scale personal network analysis
  • ethnographic interviews

Facebook ties

talking religion or politics?

A Facebook app

Not just about fancy feature design

Granjon et al, 2006
ethnographic study on lower-class households

social capital...

... and its transmission

the high society
in Buenos Aires (1620-1840)

Juan Martin de Pueyrredon
Manuel Belgrano (1770-1820)