URLs of wisdom (February 16th 2014)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology. Due to travel, this is a bumper instalment covering the end February so far…

Network analysis

To tie in with Valentine’s Day, the ever-interesting Facebook Data Science blog, featured 6 posts about love – based on data from the site. The one that’s got the most coverage is what happens when two users on the site become interested in each other and then eventually declare that they are in a relationship.

A new paper in eLife looks at an algorithm for “speed-dating” at conferences that pairs attendees from diverse backgrounds (rather than by similarity), with the aim of introducing them to people they might not otherwise have met, but whom they might have sufficiently overlapping interests.


What are the ethics of using the large amounts of publicly available data via Twitter’s API? In F1000 Research, researchers propose some guidelines to protect the privacy of those included in studies who, they argue are assuming “some anonymity of the crowd to maintain privacy”.

And on the subject of analysing tweets, Twitter is offering data grants to interesting proposals from researchers. Selected projects will receive free access to Twitter data and some institutions may also have the opportunity to work directly with Twitter’s engineers and researchers. Deadline is March 15th.

This resurfaced last week – all the metadata contained within a tweet.

What I learned from obsessively tracking my every move on the internet. Interesting analysis where Charlie Warzel discusses the data that leads him to claim “the internet has turned me into a flighty, neurotic, perma-skimming multitasker.” and that “everything I do is anchored by two platforms: Gmail and Twitter. They are my gateway to nearly all of the information I consume and all of my communications outside of people I talk to using my actual voice.”

Romance at arm’s length – NYT article that ponders the allure of online relationships: “the urge to seek pleasure through a device rather than through a person who’s in the same room can be a hard habit to break. In this wondrous world of the Internet, we often find the object that’s far away to be more enticing than the one that’s nearby.”

Academia Online

At the end of January, the @TwournalOf  was announced  – a Twitter-only online journal where each entry is…a tweet.  “Part philosophical provocation, part genuine intervention, I want to explore the willingness of researchers to share their original findings in a new format.” explains founder, Andy Miah.


The results of the Open Knowledge Foundation community survey give more details about the backgrounds and motivations of people who self-identify as members. Love this idea of getting to know who your audience is in more detail.

Web/Social media developments

Facebook turned 10 – and Pew Internet Research shared some updated facts about the site including half of all adult users have more than 200 friends in their network.

Twitter introduces analytics for Twitter cards to let publishers analyse interactions with their content in more detail.

Just for fun

Software updates...


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