Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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The science of social networking

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: The science of social networking
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Can having more friends on facebook mean you will get better grades in school? Well, a group of Maine-Endwell High School students are attempting to find the answers. Our Carmen Perez tells us how these students' quest for answers could take them halfway around the world.

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- So what do social networks and fictional characters from popular teenage movies have in common? It is called network science. Think six degrees of separation. The idea that everyone and everything is connected. Two teams from M-E High School are delving into this research and into an international science competition to prove theories around this idea.

Meet team #1:

"We are hoping to see if there is any correlation between people's social interaction and their averages and also their social interactions and overall well being," said Cara Boothroyd,

Team #2 is looking at connections made in the fictional world.

"what we wanted to do was look at different fictional networks so novels, movies, TV shows and see if there are correlations between when they were written, what audience they were written for," said Josie Trichka

Both teams have been working on their projects since September with a group from Binghamton University. And although it seems complex, students say it is the kind of science they are used to.

"We went with the thing we knew the best and that was people like us. High School kids and our friends and our grades and everything. And we put that together to see if any connections could be made," Brianna Benson said.


Network science also looks at the ways complex systems evolve and shape themselves and when it comes to the literary world team #2 was a bit surprised by their findings.

"We we can still read the stuff that was written 50 years ago. But it kind of makes me feel bad to know people think they have to make things simple for us," Trichka said.

And team #1's findings will most certainly sit well with their teenage friends

"We found that facebook time doesn't really affect your grades, we found that the people who are more social have higher grades," said Boothroyd.

The students have about one month left to complete their projects for the competition in March.

Time Warner Cable is the parent company of YNN and we are committed to the Connect a Million Minds program, inspiring youth to develop science, technology, engineering and math skills. For more information on the initiative, go to connectamillionminds.com.

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