Are you in my network?

Interesting article in the NYT this morning: it seems as if the business strategies of cellphone networks have an impact on social networks. People who are in the same network talk more to each other, than people who don’t have the same cellphone network.

The article explains how in informal friendship networks the frequency and duration of cellphone calls is lowered as soon as one of the participants switches to another network and that business acquaintances become “friends” through longer and more frequent phone calls when they are in the same cellphone network.

They refer to research on cellphone use being conducted at the Universities of Notre Dame and Michigan. I am wondering if people here at the Media Lab have found out a similar connection: a question for our bloggers Ben and David.

I had not thought about my own personal cellphone usage in this way, mainly because I am not checking how many minutes I have left. From a research standpoint, is your cellphone network/provider really powerful enough to influence the duration and frequency of interactions with people you do not consider your friends and only talk to on purely professional topics?


About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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