In reality, people interact with very few of those listed as part of their social network, according to a recent study posted at First Monday by Huberman, Romero, and Wu, “Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope.” To assess the size of the social network that matters we need to consider those people who actually communicate through direct messages with each other, as opposed to the network created by the declared followers and followees. While the social network created by the declared followers and followees appears to be very dense, in reality the more influential network of friends suggests that the social network is sparse.
A new study by U Mass-Dartmouth’s Barnes and Mattson finds that 22% of college admissions offices using blogs do not accept comments. “By any measure, this is a problem if the goal is to connect with prospective students through ongoing conversation with the school,” they write. For students and their parents looking to have a conversation online about particular aspects of university life, “this increased interaction through comments can be significant. With more and more schools moving into multiple channels of social media schools that don’t allow for conversation will quickly be passed by,” they write. Fifty-four percent of colleges reported they monitor the Internet for buzz, posts, conversations and news about their institution. “Given the ease with which monitoring can be done,” the report says, “it is still somewhat surprising that just slightly over half of the institutions studied are doing it.”