E-mail Reveals Your Closest Friends

Published in ScienceNOW, 30 Nov 2011

It’s not surprising that someone could guess your friends simply by peeking at your e-mail. But a more detailed look at your electronic communications could reveal which friends are closer to you than others, according to a new study.

In recent years, researchers have come up with several methods to suss out personal relationships from e-mails without actually reading the messages themselves. One is to set a volume threshold: If a person sends e-mails to someone else more than, say, 30 times over 6 months, the two people are probably well acquainted—that is, they are probably in each other’s social network. Another tack is to ignore the volume of e-mail and simply look at whether a letter elicits a response. […]

The rest of this article is available here.