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The Internet as Quantitative Social Science Platform

In this project, we analysed over one trillion online/offline observations to build the world’s richest data set on internet activity around the globe. With this data, we can examine human behaviour on a previously unimaginable scale. The data has already been used to study global sleep patterns, the diffusion of the internet and the internet’s impact on the economy, but that is just the beginning.The culmination of over three years’ work, our ground-breaking database provides a first glimpse of the potential for global internet activity data to profoundly change the way research on human behaviour and social interactions is conducted, and the types of questions we can ask and answer.This has become possible because, for the first time in human history, half of the world’s population is connected to a single network on which every device can instantly, and at negligible cost, passively query the other’s online or offline status, rendering the internet a powerful and unprecedented social data-science platform.