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America Online

AIM Meets Social Network Theory 212

dan moore writes "A student at Caltech has created a website ( that tracks cliques within groups of peoples' buddylists. It also measures buddy popularity and allows you to do a six-degrees type search for other screen names. An interesting approach to social network theory."
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AIM Meets Social Network Theory

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  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyclometh (629276) on Monday April 14, 2003 @02:42AM (#5726230)
    Too bad it's only for AIM; it would be interesting to apply similar principles to blogs.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lachrymite (115440) on Monday April 14, 2003 @02:58AM (#5726294)
      There are several websites out there that track LiveJournal friends lists and allow you to see how many steps away you are from people, who is in your immediate circle, and other features. They're also a lot more complete, since I believe they gain the friends data by scraping the user info pages of people, instead of each person having to sign up and upload a list of all their friends.

      Also, LiveJournal has a few features built directly into the site that do somewhat similar things. You can get a list of friends who are popular with your own friends, and a listing of all the most recent posts of your friends' friends.
      • LJ Connect [] is the page that lets you find how many steps away you are from someone else on LJ.

        For what it's worth, though, they don't read the userinfo pages; they read the friends information from a special simplified web interface designed just for such tools. (The details of the interface aren't public, but you can ask the LJ admins for more information.) The end result is the same, though.

        author another tool to analyse friends lists []

    • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arvindn (542080)
      Too bad it's only for AIM; it would be interesting to apply similar principles to blogs.

      There's a paper on weblog popularity here []. (It got slashdotted IIRC)

    • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

      by roell (624353)
      Ross Mayfield did an experiment [] on Social Network Analysis with blogs once which I found quite interesting.
  • err (Score:2, Interesting)

    How does he have everyone's buddy list in the first place?
    • Re:err (Score:3, Informative)

      He doesn't. From the looks of things you have give it to the buddyzoo bot - which makes sense :)
      • Close. If you read the website, you have to make a user account on the guy's page (by submitting your password to the bot), but you actually have to export and submit your buddy list on the website once you get logged in.
  • Useful? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Connectmc (650663)
    So if you use this, you'll know the sub-groups in your friends' list? You mean...otherwise you wouldnt have?
  • by Zemran (3101) on Monday April 14, 2003 @02:47AM (#5726255) Homepage Journal
    Is this a plot by AOL to get people to use their service rather than another? I do have an AIM screenname from 6 years ago but I cannot be bothered to load AIM up to find out if it is still working just to try this out and see what it does...
    • Six years you say? Uhm, don't laugh...but it will most probably still work. I have AIM screenname from about 5 years ago and just recently I restarted to use it. (Short, just to kick someone's butt back on ICQ) So yes, it will work.
      I don't use AIM much (read: only in specific cases) and prefer ICQ (I know, I know... ICQ is owned by AOL). I only use the AIM Express client anyway so I don't have to install their software.
      • by Zemran (3101)
        It was ICQ that I switched to and found it to be so superior that I never looked back. Now I have sunk back down to YahooIM but more because of the simple fact that the people I chat with are on Yahoo. I have tried the multi-company clients but I find that the Yahoo one works best for what I do now... I found that AIM became such a bad experience from many angles (harrassment from kiddies etc.) that I never wanted to go back to it and the only one I ever reload occassionally is ICQ, when I need to chat w
  • great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by tankdilla (652987) on Monday April 14, 2003 @02:49AM (#5726259) Homepage Journal
    now you can find out with all certainty if you are the lamest and most unpopular person on the Internet.
    • Re:great... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      > now you can find out with all certainty if you are the lamest and most unpopular person on the Internet.

      Sure, but my short list of buddies are people that I actually know. So all the girls on my list are real girls.

      I can't wait for the meta-analysis of the BuddyZoo that shows that half these people are bots and the other half are hairy middle-aged men who like to be called something like Jen^^Cutie16.
      • Re:great... (Score:2, Funny)

        by Uart (29577)
        >Sure, but my short list of buddies are people that I >actually know. So all the girls on my list are real girls.

        now where's the element of surprise in that?
    • Popularity of smarterchild
      smarterchild's popularity score: 38. This is the number of members who have smarterchild on their lists.

      Popularity ranking: 1 (percentile: 100.00).

      smarterchild is the most popular person.

      If you want to feel even worse about yourself, check that out. It's pretty sad when the most popular person is actually an AIM bot.
    • I think being popular on a service like AOL Instant Messenger would in fact be a worse blight. :P
  • Buddy collecting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Negatyfus (602326) on Monday April 14, 2003 @02:50AM (#5726260) Journal
    Sheez, some people collect IM buddies as a sport. You'd think someone has no real friends in life with 373 buddies in his contact list.
    • Re:Buddy collecting (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cybermint (255744)
      No kidding. I've been using my same AIM name for years and I still have under 20 people on it. Maybe I'm just not as big a nerd as I thought I was.
    • Buddies (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nigel.selke (665251) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:14AM (#5726350) Homepage

      I don't actually get it. I think instant messaging is great, but only for business purposes (communicating with other branches, overseas contacts, etc).

      To me, a buddies are people that you go to pubs with, go to cricket matches with, etc. I'll never be online after work hours or on the weekends, those time should be reserved for outdoor pursuits or social pursuits. There's nothing like doing 4x4 trails on the weekend, especially in Southern Africa. Or going horse-riding, playing golf, etc. Come on, guys.

      I don't know. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I don't think sitting on PCs for hours a day chatting with MSN/AIM/Yahoo buddies is healthy. The USA is an amazing country with plenty of things to do. Go and check them out. That goes for people in other countries as well - there's more for you to do than just sit on your PC. There's a wealth of recreational activities in any given country that's waiting to be explored. Heck, one of the programmers at work used to be like that, sitting on his PC for hours a day playing games or chatting. We've converted him to an outdoor man by going camping, sky-diving and horse-riding. Now he seems a lot more relaxed and has a wider social circle of people - In real life!

      • Re:Buddies (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Negatyfus (602326) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:28AM (#5726385) Journal
        It's still nice to be able to keep contact with someone you'd normally not be able to communicate with without working up an amazing phonebill. You know, like someone living on another continent. That doesn't mean you have to chat whole days (and nights) with them, though. Besides that, you can easily multi-task between instant messaging and some other, more useful computer task. Furthermore, a group chat can be useful for quickly discussing some matter, such as which pub you and your friends will be going to tonight. Finally, instant messaging can lower the threshold for some people in some situations that are too shy in real life (not that this isn't a problem that should be addressed in real life).

        There are some good uses to instant messaging. However, you can certainly get by without it. I truly hate the way instant messaging and technologies such as SMS seems to affect today's youth with the Trash-talk virus: thye wil b typin liek this til u lose ur mind and don't even see a problem with it.
        • Re:Buddies (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nigel.selke (665251)

          It's still nice to be able to keep contact with someone you'd normally not be able to communicate with without working up an amazing phonebill.

          Granted, but I find email a better medium for this. I don't deny that if someone feels more comfortable with IM'ing their relatives or friends overseas, that it would be a very handy tool for that kind of communication, though.

          That doesn't mean you have to chat whole days (and nights) with them, though. Besides that, you can easily multi-task between ins

          • Re:Buddies (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Negatyfus (602326) on Monday April 14, 2003 @04:07AM (#5726475) Journal
            Granted, but I find email a better medium for this.
            Email is an entirely different form of communication, better suited for larger amounts of text that don't immediately need a response. The nice thing about instant messaging is that you can almost interpret the other person's reactions and get an impression of what the other is thinking. I'll give you that email communication is usually deeper and on a higher intellectual plane (or at least has the potential to), but for some good mindless chatter, instant messaging would be the better tool, in my opinion.
            I don't feel comfortable using IM for social purposes.
            Surely, I had to get used to the idea, too. It just didn't feel right. But at one point, I think I kind of got sucked in. I still hate to think that I participate in the hype, though. It can be fun and useful and that's why I use it.
            "R U going 2 " is considered formal speech by a lot of youth in South Africa
            Do you know that over here in The Netherlands, we have a KitKat ad poster that takes advantage of this craze by displaying its message in this way? It goes to show the popularity of it all and it sort of annoys me. I don't know. I appreciate full, grammatically correct and intelligent sentences. It seems that many people today don't really care about that stuff anymore.
            All in all, excellent post. It should be moderated up.
            *grins* Just when I finally get some modpoints, the "you can't participate and moderate in the same discussion" thing bites me in the nose. :)
          • Infidel. (Score:2, Funny)

            by JKConsult (598845)
            All in all, excellent post. It should be moderated up.

            Don't you know you're supposed to humiliate and denigrate your opponent? Sheesh. You never would have made it in the cut-throat world of high school CX debate. :)

        • Re:Buddies (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BrokenHalo (565198)
          Good post. My only real problem with IM is that it's very hard to get any work done when constantly being interrupted. I used ICQ for some time back in 98 or 99, but eventually decided that since I was having to "shut the door" to chat sessions for long periods when I was busy that it made sense to just use email. I've found I'm more productive if I use my mental "down-time" to deal with email.

          Also, when I'm in a room full of people running ICQ, I find that dumbass "Uh-Oh!" wav bloody irritating... :-)

          • On Windows, I use Trillian. On Linux, I use GAIM and licq (both at the same time, since my skinned licq blends in so perfectly with my WindowMaker dock and I also use MSN). When a message comes in, an icon will appear (not in GAIM's case, unfortunately). It is up to you to respond immediately or continue working until you have a minute. It's that discipline that keeps you from your work, not the messages that are coming in. Unless you receive tens of then per minute, in which case you may have to ignore the
            • I too like the linux apps, but most of the people I tend to share labs with tend to be Windows heads (carefully avoiding perjoratives here - i.e. whatever rocks their boat :-)). Unfortunately, with most of these guys, the sound is the last thing to go, but I'll accomplish nothing by banging on about etiquette.
            • by gid (5195)
              The new version of Gaim has the ability to queue messages up until you want to read them. v .60 and up have this ability (although I haven't tried it, your post makes me want to turn it on tho :) ). You need to run a desktop that has a notify window area--in other words Gnome2.x or KDE. The new Gaim is a *really* nice program, a LOT of work was put into it, I love it. It's flawless as far as I'm concerned.
              • That's the reason I haven't tried the new GAIM yet: it needs Gnome 2.x. I try to live a solemn Debian live, in which I do big application installations by the apt-get book. However, as you all know, Debian stable is very cautious about upgrades, so maybe I'll deviate from that and install it from unstable (or testing?) or from source. Will it work with just the GNOME panel? Since I run WindowMaker without the clip and with the GNOME panel. Works wonderfully.
        • "Trash typing" has nothing to do with IM, IRC, or any other technocommunications. It's just something *kids* do, in EVERY era.

          Hell, look at stuff carved into picnic tables or scribbled on billboards from the 1950s or even before. You'll see phrases like "U R my tru luv". In the antique era of handwritten letters, kids did the same thing -- shorthand and shortcut the written word as much as was feasible, even if it's just using an ampersand instead of "and". Kids see this as a sort of "economy" as to how mu
          • I guess that's my main complaint then. I hate kids. :)
          • Hell, look at stuff carved into picnic tables or scribbled on billboards from the 1950s or even before. You'll see phrases like "U R my tru luv".

            The difference is that it takes a modicum of time and effort to carve long messages into wood. In other cases, it can be expensive to send long messages (telegrams, f'rinstance).

            With things like IM and SMS, it's sheer laziness, though at least for text-messaging on phones you've got the excuse of small screens and keypads not designed for the rapid input of lon
      • Clearly, the reason for that is you're a South African.

        Seriously though, I both agree and disagree. I agree that programmers and others need to get a healthy life out there, but disagree in that I believe you're confusing a real 'buddy' with an IM buddy. As others have pointed out, IM's are a great, in many cases, only, way of keeping in contact with friends spread over the globe.

        Heck, one of my current projects would be zilch if it hadn't been for Yahoo IM.

    • by Gsus411 (544087)
      I had the limit on AIM once (somewhere around 200) because I block everyone not on my list.

      I'm a moderator on a major recording artist's forum, so there are lots of people who want to have me delete or lock threads. Sometimes ban a user.

      So, I added everyone who posted regularly.

      I don't need that quite so much anymore because I begged and pleaded for another mod. Now I'm down to about 50ish because only people I know in real life need to bug me, with the occasional close board friend thrown in for good me
    • I take it you've never met in a chatroom to discuss where to go out for drinks.

      AIM used to have a limit of 160 buddies, but fortunately that restriction has been lifted. I just went through and cleaned out a few old screen names, so my list is down to 165 right now. Note that some people have multiple screen names (for example, one they use from home and one they use from work), so that's not 165 individual people, but probably closer to 100. Probably a little over half of them I've met in person; the r
    • Re:Buddy collecting (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dreadlock9 (254135)
      Yahoo's limit is 100 people, which I reached a while ago. Now I have to delete someone to add a new person. I complained to Yahoo, and this is what they told me:


      Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Messenger.

      You are limited to 100 friends at one time on your friend list. We have
      limited it to this number because your Friend List is stored on our
      servers rather than on your computer. The drawback of this is that you
      are limited to 100 friends. However, the benefit of this is that you
      can go to any compute
  • "Your popularity score: 0."
    Yet somehow the IM spammers find me...
  • opt in? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by s2kdave (653155) on Monday April 14, 2003 @02:52AM (#5726266)
    I'm just speculating, but it seems to me that he is building up his database when you log in and IM him. He doesn't have a complete list (since it said 6xxx names) although it's probably growing more and more. Looks almost like an opt in strategy, but for what? I didn't log in myself so I don't know.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...and they've all been just linked by slashdot.

    Does anyone else get the feeling these 8000 people who gave their screenames to the site are about to get a lot of very exciting offers for penis enlargement and Hot17F Hi! My name is cindy :) Come and look at my webcam.. I like to have fun.. Just for you.. []
  • whoa (Score:3, Interesting)

    by s2kdave (653155) on Monday April 14, 2003 @02:55AM (#5726282)
    hol cr@p. you can see the ./ effect just by hitting the refresh button and watch the number of screen names grow. So how many of those users will now start to receive spam IMs? :-)
    • What im more worried about is me. I never get spam IM's. I dont post my name and people only get it by talking to me in person and asking. Its not a secret name but there is no point to give it out. Currently there is 85 people on my buddy list and i dont want to give their info away just like i dont want to give mine away. Despite the fact that i am online 24/7/265 (only rebooting for a new kerlen of course :-) ) i dont get junk im's. A lot of people i know do and i cant figure out if its the particular n
  • by billstewart (78916) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:02AM (#5726308) Journal
    First of all, it's an absolutely gorgeous graphical website. But there's no documentation on
    • what it's really doing,
    • or how it really works,
    • or what it can tell you other than letting you browse through the pretty pictures, like get a summary of clique statistics, or looking up specific names
    • or whether the user interface will scale if a few hundred thousand people check in to it.
    Also, if it's depending on people to enter their own data, rather than having some efficient way to siphon up all the data directly (which would be a major security/privacy risk of its own if it were possible), then it's really not scientific, and the statistics won't be meaningful, just anecdotal. And if it does get a countable fraction of AOL users, it'll get AOLdotted pretty quickly.
  • ...some people have the weirdest screen-names. Still, I guess I could have learned that from reading slashdot, joining YaHoo!Groups or logged onto the IRC-network.

    While I realise that having a few thousand "Bob"'s on the same network - at least as long as the nick is the only unike identifier - why do people insist on picking names that are plain weird? Some may not see this as a problem, but as a user on AIM, I'm reluctant to accept IM's from people with such handles.

    Bah.. I'm ranting.

  • I made the site (Score:5, Informative)

    by SkyIce (184974) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:07AM (#5726323)
    A couple of things

    I don't have the data already. Users contribute their lists to the site by uploading them.

    I'm not going to spam people. I promise.

    This load makes me glad I put the time into setting up mod_perl

    proof that I made the site: l
  • wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:08AM (#5726325) Homepage Journal
    I caught this article when it was posted - 6000 some names were in the list.

    It's up to 15000+ and growing.

    You dirty lying /.ers - YOU ALL ARE RUNNING AOL!

    I have to wash my hands. I might get AOL, or Windows disease from you...

    • Re:wow (Score:4, Informative)

      by dorward (129628) on Monday April 14, 2003 @04:02AM (#5726458) Homepage Journal

      Oi! I'm running Gaim!

      (Instructions are provided for converting gaim buddy lists to the format needed by the system, but it took me a couple of minutes to figure out the syntax, so here it is):

      perl -s YourScreenName ~/.gaim/YourScreenName.0.blist > gaim.buddy
    • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phroggy (441)

      Note that AOL and AIM are not at all the same service. Screen names share the same namespace, and there is some interoperability (improved dramatically over the last couple years from what I understand), but you can definitely run AIM while hating AOL.

      Unless you hate the company, in which case you'd better also stay away from ICQ and WinAmp and Netscape and CNN and The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings movies and everything else they own.
      • by Reziac (43301)
        I don't use AOL (coming as I do from the era when it was the EXPENSIVE service, and besides I can't stand the interface) but I *like* AIM -- it's a useful little util and a fine piece of programming (judging by the fact that it's fast, efficient, configurable, uses very little system resources, never crashes that I've seen, and that they've cleverly fixed some security issues at the *server* level, taking that onus off the user).

        I also use Mozilla and Netscape and WinAmp... omighod, I must be an AOLer in d
  • This might be interesting once more people sign up. But there's millions of AIM users and only about 10,000 have registered with the site.

  • If somebody can convince me that this will contribute to me getting a job, I'm all over this.

    (The sick thing is that I'm only half-kidding.)

  • /. friends network? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arvindn (542080) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:09AM (#5726332) Homepage Journal
    It would be interesting to apply this kind of analysis to friend/foe relationships on /.

    Feeling up to it, cmdrtaco?

    Maybe someone who's not an editor can do it too, if they can spider all the user pages. But I suspect it would take forever to do it without getting your IP banned.

    I once came across a list of all /. users up to 5 levels in the friends chain from Cmdrtaco (i.e, friends of cmdrtaco, friends of friends, ...). I tried googling it now but can't seem to find it :(

  • by hhknighter (629353) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:10AM (#5726338)
    Much like my email address, the less people know about it, the better.

    The less people I know on AIM will effectively minimize my chances of existing on that site.

    Unpopularity pays off here.

    This can help out AIM in an undirect way. AIM spammers spam the living hell out of all members on that site. Users cannot set higher privacy settings (in chance of losing chances meeting new people and such), they can't have effective spam filters like spam killer for email. The spam is even more direct, it's not sitting in your mailbox, it's DIRECTLY on your desktop. Users find new IM screen names. AOL claims their AIM program is more popular due to the new 10 million users, who basically might be the same 10 million highschool/college kiddies.

    • But of course all the people who are saying that they would not want their screen name publicly available are clearly not reading anything on the site. All the screen names are jumbled up and the only way someone can see your actual screen name is if they are on you buddy list and/or you are on there's.

      n.b.: Privacy statement []

    • Somewhat of a solution:

      The next version of AIM could include an option to block messages from users not on your buddy list with a warning level above a certain percentage, since any spammers would be at a high warning level after the first few victims got angry at them.

      Then the spammers would have to continually register for accounts, not the victims.
  • If you look at this visualization [] of the results, this all starts to look a bit bizarre. Almost every single screen-name in that graph is nonsensical gobble-di-gook. I know for a fact that AIM screennames aren't all like that.
  • ...and I'm not... I can't stand trying to get any amount of work done on my computer with people constantly "blinging" me... you're online... great, peace see you tonight after work.. whatever. Most of my friends don't have an admin job so they don't know why it's a pain... and I don't feel like explaining it to them either, so I simply don't sign on... AIM is my primary, however, with msn being the secondary... which I can't stand... In fact messenger sucked so bad on XP I'm back to 2000 (just one reason,
  • by arvindn (542080) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:23AM (#5726369) Homepage Journal
    A famous experiment conducted 35 years ago contended that anyone can reach anyone else in the world through a chain of friends of length 6. Some people [] are trying to find out if this is really the case.

    BTW, I wonder how online relationships will compare with real world relationships? One tends to have more acquaintances in meatspace, but our online friends are more diverse.

    • There is also an algorithmic analysis of this phenomenon by Jon Kleinberg At citeseer []. This work is related to unstructured P2P networks and gives an insight why the "6 degrees of separation" occur
    • in the article it says Milgram stated the average number of the chain was 6 - thats very different than saying anyone can be reached through 6 degrees. Average would mean several required more degrees of sepeartion
  • by jsse (254124)
    friend/foe system of /.? I've seen a lot of friends, fans, friend's friend, friend's foe down there...may be I'd actually like more details such as '(Degree of speration: 4)', so that I could flame with confidence to those whom has wide speration with me...

    May be not, nevermind. :)
  • This is a pretty natural thing to do with any kind of graph (PGP key servers, blogs, p2p network topologies, you name it). And the larger graph one can get, the more interesting it gets. I drool when I think about the kind of analyses the people at AOL must do with their buddy list database...

  • All databases of user information gathered by logging user mouse clicks whilst on-line are evil ... except for the purpose of tracking 'six degrees of seperation'.
  • by Kolenkow (557147) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:50AM (#5726428)
    It is a bit interesting, actually. I just wonder when his program will collapse, what the upper limit of number of users are.
    I mean, this is a classical data-mining problem.

    Philosophical / Paranoia:
    When techniques like these functional enough to really work on large amounts of users, it's going to be candy for Big Brother.
    They can just look at the graph over the people doing unwanted stuff and remove the spiders of those webs (the leaders of those underground networks). I think this is a great example of how important it is for us to develop freenet techniques.

  • by hhknighter (629353) on Monday April 14, 2003 @03:51AM (#5726432)
    I see you had concern with network admins knocking on your door. What about AOL?

    Although I am not 100% on this, but AIM I believe is their trademark, and such they are going to defend it (as long as you are getting more hits than they ever will). was an example. Their IM addiction survey and other stuff were REAL popular. I know they got legal letter from AOL regarding the trademark usage, and his attitude at first wasn't exactly yielding. Now I just tried going there again and it's not even on the DNS servers.

    I am no lawyer, and I guess this is slightly off topic. But I am interested in something like this. It is an idea AOL might not have thought off and seems like they might be interested in something like this (given their current status, they probably have to increase AOL CDs so there's a higher chance someone will install their crap by accident).

    Just a thought
  • email... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kolenkow (557147)
    Wasn't there an article here (or was it on (swedish idg site)) about some researchers on ibm or hp that made a similar thing with emails send within a company? The interesting (and yet not surprising) conclusion was that groups that you could extrude from the email data also was the informal groups that existed in the company irl.
    The most usefull outcome of this, would hence be for the company to understand how it actually was organized, and also a tool to determine key persons in those groups.
  • Possible misuse? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eese (647951) on Monday April 14, 2003 @04:08AM (#5726478)
    I don't the idea of my buddy list being closely examined. What if I have John Doe on my list, who has Omar Gill on his list, who has Osama on his list, the man would say that I've been associating with terrorists.
  • Even with the privacy issues being resolved, and preventing the list from falling in the hands of spammers, there is a deeper problem of whether people on the ground will embrace it.

    I remember similar experiments with networking "BOOKMARKS" or "Favorites" and they never could get big enough for the "critical mass." I am not sure why, but purely using that as an apporpriate analogy, I think this concept needs to be refined further before it can become big. Maybe people hesitate giving data from which t

  • What a bitch. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vector7 (2410) on Monday April 14, 2003 @05:43AM (#5726662) Journal

    Just by sumitting my buddy list, I've automatically made all my buddies immensely more popular than myself, as they all appear on one buddy list (mine), whereas none of them have uploaded their lists, so I appear on no buddy lists. Funny how that works out.
    • You mean you're not on your own buddy list? I'm on my own buddy list! It makes sense.

      Because there's really no other good way to monitor your warning level. (Or take a quick peak at your profile, with working hyperlinks.) So I know several people who have themselves on their own buddy list. It is actually useful.

  • ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scubacuda (411898) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {aducabucs}> on Monday April 14, 2003 @05:44AM (#5726664)
    I find it ironic that some of the same people who'd normally have a shit fit over their personal information being centralized (TIA, etc.) actually *volunteer* to disclose their buddy lists (not to mention make it *accessible* to the general public)...

    • Re:ironic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HopeOS (74340)
      I don't think that Ben Franklin would be worried if people knew that Thomas Jefferson was on his buddy list. Voluntary disclosure is fine. Involuntary disclosure is not. -Hope
      • But Thomas Jefferson may not want people to know his SN. And he doesn't have a choice about it in this scenario. Once Ben submits it, Tom's name is automatically up there.
  • Registering for this requires you to click on an "aim://blah blah" link. I know I can just use the info in the link to send the right IM to their bot, but this brings a question to mind. How does one set up KDE or GNOME to handle those "aim://" links?
    • I know I can do question was how could i set up kde or gnome to be able to just click those kind of links without having to do that. Not that I use them too much, but it would be nice to fix.
      • Newer versions of gaim come with a program called gaim-remote. Add a handler for aim:// that passes the URI to gaim-remote with the following syntax:

        gaim-remote uri [uri]

        Hope this helps.


  • Aimbase is similar (Score:2, Informative)

    by flicken (182650)
    Check out Aimbase []. Two students at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute have a website with a similar goal. They don't have as many screennames, but they a much cooler visualization tool (you can zoom dynamically around the graph).
    • but they a much cooler visualization tool (you can zoom dynamically around the graph)

      Which doesn't work in Mozilla...

      Seriously - they use SVG, and there is no SVG viewer for Mozilla. The Adobe one will crash your browser, and Adobe refuses to release a new one for Mozilla.

      Your other option is to try the incomplete Mozilla SVG [] browser, but if you want to see the buddy names, you'd better be running Windows XP. (Or whatever SP adds GDI+ to older versions of Windows.)

      Over a year ago people noticed tha []

  • Beat to the punch! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaPhoenix (318174)
    What the heck! I swear. My roomate came up with that idea last year and was going to try to implement it. Oh well. Caltech got it too and finished it first. I cant wait to play!
  • Anybody else to remember SixDegrees? You stated your links (and they could be specified as "friend," "co-worker," "acquaintance"...) and you were connected with them when they acknowledged you. Extremely interesting sociologically. But it went down for (apparently) economical reasons.
    And for those who are genuinely interested in Internet applications of network analysis, you might want to try the Oracle of Bacon []. It's an online version of the "Kevin Bacon Game" (who starred with whom) using data from IMDB.
  • Thoughts on it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by limekiller4 (451497) on Monday April 14, 2003 @10:34AM (#5728312) Homepage
    I considered doing this about a half-year back but abandoned it, not because it would be hard to do but because I couldn't think of an easy way for a person to share their buddy list. It would require setting up an account and possibly finding a text file and dropping it into a textarea field (or perhaps uploading a file), something I didn't think I could accomplish without skewing the data toward the geekier crowd.

    It also occurred to me that there are probably a lot of people who don't want their whole buddy list to necessarily be known, so I'd have to create some barrier to prevent directly seeing other people's buddy list.

    Further, buddy lists are always in flux. The data would become dated fairly rapidly and just straight-out incorrect not too long after.

    Finally, I realized that this idea was something that would be trivial for AOL to do. They have the data and they have it in real time. All someone would have to do is check off a "yes, you can use my buddy list for data collection" or something (though I'd imagine their EULA would probably already give them that right if the simply wanted to do it sans specific permission). It could be spun in a number of different ways to entice people to do so.

    Just some thoughts.
  • 12:11 EST, and it's dead.
    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
    Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
    Apache/1.3.27 Server at Port 80
    I bet the server admins were really happy about your hosting a Slashdotted site
  • zerg (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord Omlette (124579) on Monday April 14, 2003 @12:41PM (#5729297) Homepage
    If you're interested in Network Theory, there's a book called "Linked: the New Science of Networks" that covers six degrees of separation and a ton of other stuff too. It's very readable...

    Here's the /. review []...
  • to how OS-X's Rendezvous for Ichat works....
  • Jesus, this is just like High School all over again!


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