Scientists Watch How New Technologies Spread Among Wild Chimps

For the first time ever, scientists have witnessed the acquisition and spread of a new behavior — two new feeding methods — among wild chimpanzees. It's an 'extraordinarily rare' observation that points to the origins of social learning in both chimps and humans. » 10/01/14 12:40pm 10/01/14 12:40pm

New evidence that humans developed big brains to cope with society

For the past several decades, scientists have been fascinated by the "social brain theory" — the idea that certain animals evolved big, powerful brains to cope with the complexities of social life. A new computer simulation has now shown that this assertion is likely correct. » 6/26/13 9:10am 6/26/13 9:10am

How Studying Ant Behavior Can Make Social Networks Better

People who go on social networking sites are often compared to ant colonies — but it may be truer than anyone realizes. A new study from the University of Madrid suggests that the behavior of real-life ants could inspire developers to improve the way these sites function. By constructing an algorithm modeled off the… » 6/05/12 10:39am 6/05/12 10:39am

Did Gary Numan predict Facebook?

My life is increasingly mediated by the internet, even more than it was in college. I'm blogging more, using OKCupid, and repping the shit out of my writing all over Facebook. I stay up late drinking and chat with people, which is what I also did when I was in middle school (without the drinking). It's in times like… » 2/16/11 2:30pm 2/16/11 2:30pm

Tracking tweets by dialect

There are many ways to find the location of people on the internet. Some people are located through technology — but some people give away their location by their word choice. Internet speech is more regional than we'd previously thought. » 1/07/11 9:30am 1/07/11 9:30am

A map of Earth's nations, divided into social networks

Vincenzo Cosenza has partitioned the planet according to nations' preferred social networks, and you can read more about these global trends at his site. Facebook's making inroads in Mongolia! [Spotted on Next Nature] » 12/12/10 9:30am 12/12/10 9:30am

The more Facebook friends you have, the more likely you'll catch the flu

When you ask someone to name a friend of theirs, the person they name is almost always more popular than themselves. It's called the friendship paradox. But the cool kids with thousands of Facebook friends may find a major downside to their popularity. They're likely to get sick far quicker in an epidemic. During the… » 9/16/10 12:34pm 9/16/10 12:34pm

If Websites Were Nations, Digg and Reddit Would Go to War

What if the websites we choose to frequent weren't merely websites, but nations that reflect our homes and ideals? The comic War imagines a world where website membership equals citizenship, and the reddit aliens "liberate" Diggers from their oligarchy. » 12/18/09 9:30am 12/18/09 9:30am

VR Boyfriend Pls Kthxbai

One of the latest crazes in Japan is virtual boyfriends, which you can order up special on the newly-launched Web-kare social network. Two of the possible boys for you are pictured here, and I have to admit they're both kind of hot — you know, in an anime way. I like that one of the options is a boy with glasses for… » 9/26/08 4:51pm 9/26/08 4:51pm

Rare Disease Bonding is the New Social Connector

If you're sick of bonding with people over Scrabulous and superpokes and pop music, then maybe it's time to migrate to a social network where the only thing people have in common are their rare diseases. Rareshare.org is a new social network like MySpace which is totally devoted to connecting people who have the same… » 7/14/08 12:11pm 7/14/08 12:11pm

Make Friends With The Ultimate Weirdness

The New Weird, the awesome new anthology edited by io9 contributors Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, has its own MySpace Page. That means you can make friends with a whole literary movement, which focuses on urban settings and visceral, disturbing imagery borrowed from horror. The anthology follows the genesis of the New… » 3/26/08 12:00pm 3/26/08 12:00pm

Study Shows Digg Freezes Innovation Among Its Users

Transparently-shared ideas, like those that circulate on popular social networks such as Digg, Delicious, and StumbleUpon, may be destroying people's creativity. According to a new study published today by two cognitive scientists, people who share ideas in large groups tend to stagnate rather than innovate. They… » 2/20/08 7:40am 2/20/08 7:40am