Three papers for your geeky enjoyment (all .pdf):
Online Social Networks: Status and Trends is a great summary of current research and opinions regarding the current and future status of social networking. Section five has an interesting discussion of decentralized online social networking services and applications.
And here’s some excellent work, creativity, and analysis from University of Cambridge, University of St. Andrews, and Imperial College London researchers:
First, Socio-spatial Properties of Online Location-based Social Networks, which is a total geek special and offers a detailed analysis of the spatial properties among users of Brightkite, Foursquare and Gowalla. Here’s a peek inside:
We provide evidence that mechanisms akin to gravity models may inﬂuence how these social connections are created over space.
[Gravity models] have long been used to model connections in spatial networks such as trade ﬂows across countries[.]
Second, Track Globally, Deliver Locally: Improving Content Delivery Networks by Tracking Geographic Social Cascades delves into how tracking geographic social cascades could aid in the development/exploitation of…
[P]re-fetching of Web content, caching of normal HTTP traffic, datacenter design and placement and even to devise security mechanisms.
This research also relates to a better understanding of social cascades generally (i.e., understanding how information flows through links in social networks) and improving the performance of content distribution networks.