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The Structure of Growing Social Networks


  • Emily M. Jin
  • Michelle Girvan
  • M. E. J. Newman


We propose some simple models of the growth of social networks, based on three general principles: (1) meetings take place between pairs of individuals at a rate which is high if a pair has one or more mutual friends and low otherwise; (2) acquaintances between pairs of individuals who rarely meet decay over time; (3) there is an upper limit on the number of friendships an individual can maintain. using computer simulations, we find that models that incorporatge all of these features reproduce many of the features of real social networks, including high levels of clustering or network transitivity and strong community structure in which individuals have more links to others within their community than to individuals from other communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Emily M. Jin & Michelle Girvan & M. E. J. Newman, 2001. "The Structure of Growing Social Networks," Working Papers 01-06-032, Santa Fe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:01-06-032

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhu, Zhiguo, 2013. "Discovering the influential users oriented to viral marketing based on online social networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(16), pages 3459-3469.
    2. Tian, Lixin & Huang, Yi & Dong, Gaogao & Du, Ruijin & Shi, Liu, 2014. "Robustness of interdependent and interconnected clustered networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 412(C), pages 120-126.
    3. Claes Andersson & Koen Frenken & Alexander Hellervik, 2006. "A complex network approach to urban growth," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(10), pages 1941-1964, October.
    4. Ikeda, Nobutoshi, 2010. "Impact of initial lattice structures on networks generated by traces of random walks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(16), pages 3336-3347.
    5. Stanislaw Drozdz & Andrzej Kulig & Jaroslaw Kwapien & Artur Niewiarowski & Marek Stanuszek, 2017. "Hierarchical organization of H. Eugene Stanley scientific collaboration community in weighted network representation," Papers 1705.06208,, revised Oct 2017.
    6. Perc, Matjaž, 2010. "Growth and structure of Slovenia’s scientific collaboration network," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 475-482.
    7. Ronald, Nicole & Arentze, Theo & Timmermans, Harry, 2012. "Modeling social interactions between individuals for joint activity scheduling," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 276-290.
    8. Johansson, Tobias, 2017. "Gossip spread in social network Models," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 471(C), pages 126-134.
    9. Inoue, Hiroyasu, 2014. "A two-layer team-assembly model for invention networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 415(C), pages 181-188.
    10. Huang, Chung-Yuan & Tsai, Yu-Shiuan, 2010. "Effects of friend-making resources/costs and remembering on acquaintance networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(3), pages 604-622.
    11. Li, Yongli & Luo, Peng & Fan, Zhi-ping & Chen, Kun & Liu, Jiaguo, 2017. "A utility-based link prediction method in social networks," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 260(2), pages 693-705.
    12. López, Luis & F.F. Mendes, Jose & Sanjuán, Miguel A.F, 2002. "Hierarchical social networks and information flow," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 316(1), pages 695-708.
    13. Karan, Rituraj & Biswal, Bibhu, 2017. "A model for evolution of overlapping community networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 474(C), pages 380-390.
    14. ChristianR. Jaramillo H., 2005. "The Role Of Networks In Collective Action With Costly Communication," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 003625, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    15. repec:eee:ecomod:v:204:y:2007:i:3:p:379-386 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Hendrik Ludolph & Gilbert Babin & Peter Kropf, 2003. "A Communication Framework Towards Flexible Associations of Business Entities Within Evolving Environments," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-43, CIRANO.
    17. Hackney, Jeremy & Marchal, Fabrice, 2011. "A coupled multi-agent microsimulation of social interactions and transportation behavior," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 296-309, May.

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    Social networks; network dynamics; community structure;

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