Social dynamics in conferences: analyses of data from the Live Social Semantics application

Popularity and spread of online social networking in recent years has given a great momentum to the study of dynamics and patterns of social interactions. However, these studies have often been confined to the online world, neglecting its interdependencies with the offline world. This is mainly due to the lack of real data that spans across this divide. The Live Social Semantics application is a novel platform that dissolves this divide, by collecting and integrating data about people from (a) their online social networks and tagging activities from popular social networking sites, (b) their publications and co-authorship networks from semantic repositories, and (c) their real-world face-to-face contacts with other attendees collected via a network of wearable active sensors. This paper investigates the data collected by this application during its deployment at three major conferences, where it was used by more than 400 people. Our analyses show the robustness of the patterns of contacts at various conferences, and the influence of various personal properties (e.g. seniority, conference attendance) on social networking patterns.