Three degrees of distance on Twitter

National Geographic


This project analyzes the retweet as a contagious behavior to study distance the phenomenon of the three degrees of distance on Twitter. In their research, Twitter data was extracted using Python tools such as Tweepy (calls to Twitter) and NetworkX (a Python library for SNA) along with additional libraries, including Apigee. These tools allow the investigation of different forms of SNA beyond egocentric analysis. It explores the diffusion in digital networks and the similarity it presents with physical networks, which implies that there are human barriers to communication in online spaces. Social influence is diffused to three degrees, but not further due to noisy communication and technology / time issues that lead to the decay of information.

The figure shows the relationship between retweets and social distnance with 3+ RTs

The figure shows the relationship between retweets and social distnance with 3+ RTs


The evolution of knowledge and social relations can be better understood if the relationships between individuals measured by the use of technology are considered. This in the framework of addressing the creation of knowledge as a social enterprise and to better understand human behavior and social interaction phenomena in a multidimensional and integrated manner. It is also integrated in the use of tools from diverse scientific fields including econometrics, data mining, spatial analysis and experimental methods.



Jorge Fábrega

Principal Researcher

Ph.D. en Políticas Públicas, Universidad de Chicago.



Fabrega, J., & Paredes, P. (2012). Three Degrees of Distance on Twitter. arXiv preprint arXiv:1207.6839.