Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Web creates snowball effects in real life

Date:
March 16, 2010
Source:
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish)
Summary:
To understand how information spreads among people, Swedish physicists and sociologists have studied a Brazilian Web forum for prostitution. The study is probably the first to demonstrate that feedback in Internet-based communication impacts events in reality. This in turn has an effect on the Net.

To understand how information spreads among people, Swedish physicists and sociologists have studied a Brazilian Web forum for prostitution. The study is probably the first to demonstrate that feedback in Internet-based communication impacts events in reality. This in turn has an effect on the Net.

The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by the physicists Luis Rocha and Petter Holme of Umeε University and the sociologist Fredrik Liljeros of Stockholm University. They have analyzed a Brazilian Web forum where sex-buyers anonymously discuss escorts, an expensive form of prostitution.

"Most economic phenomena are based on the sellers spreading information to buyers via marketing. Prostitution is one of the few phenomena that are organized through social networks among both buyers and sellers. This is why it's interesting to people like us, who study social dissemination of information," says Luis Rocha.

Through sex-buyers' remarks about their encounters with escorts, the researchers have been able to observe how the discussion in the forum affects how many contacts the escorts have with sex-buyers.

Positive reviews increases the number of future contacts. High activity levels and experience also enhance the reputations of escorts. This feedback can have something like a snowball effect for certain escorts and in that way creates a skewed distribution of how many contacts different escorts have.

The study may also be of interest in understanding how sexually transmitted diseases spread. The transmission of disease is strongly influenced by how the sexual network is built up. In spite of this, there are very few large-scale studies of sexual networks, as it is difficult to gather the relevant data. In this study Rocha, Liljeros, and Holme investigated a special type of sexual contacts that, to be sure, do not tell the whole truth about the individuals' sexual contacts. On the other hand, the network is extremely large.

"Even though we have only studied contacts between escorts and sex- buyers, the entire network is pretty much connected. This is somewhat surprising, since the escorts work in twelve cities, some of them rather remote from each other," says Petter Holme.

In the future these researchers plan to complement these data with other knowledge in order to get a better grasp of the transmission of disease.

From an economic perspective the researchers were also able to observe an interesting relationship between the number of escorts and the size of the cities. Normally economic phenomena that require that people meet in reality increase faster than linearly. In this case that would mean that a city that is twice as big as another should have more than twice as many prostitutes. On the other hand, in this study the number of escorts increases more slowly than linearly, despite the fact that the prostitutes and their customers ultimately have to meet.

"Since the prostitution we are studying is coordinated via the Internet, it's not as important to set up meetings in reality. Moreover, Web-based prostitution is facing growing competition from other forms of prostitution that stand to gain more from the proximity of people in cities," explains Luis Rocha.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Luis E. C. Rocha, Fredrik Liljeros, and Petter Holme. Information dynamics shape the sexual networks of Internet-mediated prostitution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914080107

Cite This Page:

Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). "Web creates snowball effects in real life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316235819.htm>.
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). (2010, March 16). Web creates snowball effects in real life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316235819.htm
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). "Web creates snowball effects in real life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316235819.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Facebook Says The DEA's Fake Accounts Go Too Far

Facebook Says The DEA's Fake Accounts Go Too Far

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — Facebook says the DEA violated its Terms of Service and that such impersonations damage the integrity of the site. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) — In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
For Google, Even A $16.5 Billion Earnings Report Is A Miss

For Google, Even A $16.5 Billion Earnings Report Is A Miss

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) — Analysts were expecting more, but Google’s ad growth slowed on the quarter and the company is spending more of its money. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Signs Cybersecurity Order, Wants Safer Payments

Obama Signs Cybersecurity Order, Wants Safer Payments

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama announces details of a new executive order designed to make federal payments safer following recent massive data breaches. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins