Impact of human mobility on social networks

Dashun Wang, Chaoming Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Mobile phone carriers face challenges from three synergistic dimensions: Wireless, social, and mobile. Despite significant advances that have been made about social networks and human mobility, respectively, our knowledge about the interplay between two layers remains largely limited, partly due to the difficulty in obtaining large-scale datasets that could offer at the same time social and mobile information across a substantial population over an extended period of time. In this paper, we take advantage of a massive, longitudinal mobile phone dataset that consists of human mobility and social network information simultaneously, allowing us to explore the impact of human mobility patterns on the underlying social network. We find that human mobility plays an important role in shaping both local and global structural properties of social network. In contrast to the lack of scale in social networks and human movements, we discovered a characteristic distance in physical space between 10 and 20 km that impacts both local clustering and modular structure in social network. We also find a surprising distinction in trajectory overlap that segments social ties into two categories. Our results are of fundamental relevance to quantitative studies of human behavior, and could serve as the basis of anchoring potential theoretical models of human behavior and building and developing new applications using social and mobile technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-109
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Communications and Networks
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Clustering
  • Heterogeneous network
  • Human mobility
  • Mobile phones
  • Percolation
  • Scale-free network
  • Social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of human mobility on social networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this