The Length of Bridge Ties: Structural and Geographic Properties of Online Social Interactions
Keywords:social networks, spatial properties, online interactions, network analysis
The popularity of the Web has allowed individuals to communicate and interact with each other on a global scale: people connect both to close friends and acquaintances, creating ties that can bridge otherwise separated groups of people. Recent evidence suggests that spatial distance is still affecting social links established on online platforms, with online ties preferentially connecting closer people. In this work we study the relationships between interaction strength, spatial distance and structural position of ties between members of a large-scale online social networking platform, Tuenti. We discover that ties in highly connected social groups tend to span shorter distances than connections bridging together otherwise separated portions of the network. We also find that such bridging connections have lower social interaction levels than ties within the inner core of the network and ties connecting to its periphery. Our results suggest that spatial constraints on online social networks are intimately connected to structural network properties, with important consequences for information diffusion.