Where Online Friends Meet: Social Communities in Location-Based Networks
Keywords:community detection, online social networks, location-based services
Recent research suggests that, as in offline scenarios, spatial proximity increases the likelihood that two individuals establish an online social connection, and geographic closeness could therefore influence the formation of online communities. In this work we present a study of communities in two online social networks with location-sharing features and analyze their social and spatial properties. We study the places users visit to understand whether communities revolve around places or whether they exist independently. Our results suggest that community structure in social networks may arise from both social and spatial factors, so that exploiting information about the places where people go could benefit the definition of new community detection methods and community evolution models.