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Location reveals networking trend: Study

London, UK: Researchers at Cambridge University in UK developed a method of predicting which individuals may become friends on social networking sites. The new method developed by Salvatore Scellato, Anastasios Noulas and Cecilia Mascolo, devised a new approach that looks at locations or places people visit – with incremental weightings given to different places such as airports and gymnasiums.
Scellato said, “For research, we analysed the location-based social network Gowalla to see how users created social connections over a period of four months. We discovered that about 30 per cent of all new social links appear among users that check-in to the same places. Thus, these ‘place friends’ represent disconnected users becoming direct connections. By combining place friends with friends-of-friends, we could make the prediction space about 15 times smaller than the traditional method (friends of friends) and yet, cover 66 per cent of new social ties.”
“It turns out that the properties of the places we interact can determine how likely we are to develop social ties. Offices, gyms and schools are more likely to aid development rather than other places such as football stadiums or airports. In those places, it’s highly unlikely people will develop a social connection,” Scellato explained.
“Our results show it is possible to improve the performance of link prediction systems on location-based services that can be employed to keep the users of social networks interested and engaged with that particular website,” Scellato continued.
Source: Cambridge University