Social Interaction and Geographical Distance in the Internet Era
An interesting paper deposited ar ArXiv.org by Jacob Goldenberg and Moshe Levy from the The Hebrew University, Jerusalem: "Distance Is Not Dead: Social Interaction and Geographical Distance in the Internet Era"
Abstract: The Internet revolution has made long-distance communication dramatically faster, easier, and cheaper than ever before. This, it has been argued, has decreased the importance of geographic proximity in social interactions, transforming our world into a "global village" with a "borderless society". We argue for the opposite: while technology has undoubtedly increased the overall level of communication, this increase has been most pronounced for local social ties. We show that the volume of electronic communications is inversely proportional to geographic distance, following a Power Law. We directly study the importance of physical proximity in social interactions by analyzing the spatial dissemination of new baby names. Counter-intuitively, and in line with the above argument, the importance of geographic proximity has dramatically increased with the internet revolution.
The paper is freely available here.