Studying social interactions using digital trace data: the case of older adults, migrants, and family ties

Gil-Clavel, B. S.
IV, 211 pages. Groningen, University of Groningen (2023), unpublished


This thesis contributes to the growing field of Computational Social Science by using data from Facebook and Twitter to study: the differential usage of Facebook around the world; older people’s close friendships; immigrants’ language acquisition; and European regional family ties. The first study was a descriptive comparative analysis of the use of Facebook by older and young people worldwide. The second study showed how, in the European Union, the likelihood of having close friends differs between older people who use the internet and Facebook compared to older people who live offline. The third study used data from Twitter to analyze how civic integration and citizenship requirements in the EU-15 are associated with immigrants’ median times to start tweeting in the language of the host society. The final study focused on the European regional family ties distinction, hypothesizing on whether European North-South differences in family dynamics are reflected in Twitter users’ conversations as well.

Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.