Europhys. Lett.
Volume 64, Number 3, November 2003
Page(s) 427 - 433
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 01 November 2003
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-00505-4
Europhys. Lett., 64 (3) , pp. 427-433 (2003)

Network dynamics of ongoing social relationships

P. Holme

Department of Physics, Umeå University - 901 87 Umeå, Sweden

(Received 21 July 2003; accepted in final form 22 August 2003)

Many recent large-scale studies of interaction networks have focused on networks of accumulated contacts. In this letter we explore social networks of ongoing relationships with an emphasis on dynamical aspects. We find a distribution of response times (times between consecutive contacts of different direction between two actors) that has a power law shape over a large range. We also argue that the distribution of relationship duration (the time between the first and last contacts between actors) is exponentially decaying. Methods to reanalyze the data to compensate for the finite sampling time are proposed. We find that the degree distribution for networks of ongoing contacts fits better to a power law than the degree distribution of the network of accumulated contacts do. We see that the clustering and assortative mixing coefficients are of the same order for networks of ongoing and accumulated contacts, and that the structural fluctuations of the former are rather large.

89.65.-s - Social and economic systems.
89.75.Hc - Networks and genealogical trees.
89.75.-k - Complex systems.

© EDP Sciences 2003