07-03-2017 | Bas Hofstra

New paper out!

Together with Niek de Schipper, we conducted a study about methods for inferring demographic information in social media network data. Because these types of data are often big (i.e., millions of observations) but shallow (i.e., not much info about these observations), this process of enriching the data is essential to be able to answer substantive (social) scientific questions on cohesion (who interacts with whom online? What are the consequences of those interactions?). We show that simple methods for inferring demographics are prone to errors and thus argue that we need sophisticated methods to be able to make sound statistical inferences with big data.

This sounds like technical story, but we really wrote out the piece as accessible as we could. I think many scholars will find our methods very useful! It’s published open access in Big Data & Society and titled “Predicting Ethnicity with First Names in Online Social Media Networks.”


Check the paper out here               or via the journal.

Tags: paper | ethnicity | big data

21-12-2017 | Bas Hofstra

PhD Defense!

Last Friday I successfully defended my Ph.D.-thesis in the Academybuilding of Utrecht University. An overwhelming experience, but one that was so much more fun than I had dared to hope in advance. Major thanks to the opponents for their kind but thoughtful questions on my thesis, for the invaluable support of my partner in crime, family, friends, and colleagues who stayed with me during the last four years, and to my supervisors whose invaluable lessons I will never forget. I am still enjoying this beautiful day from sunny California. See the picture below to get a small impression. Some media outlets were so friendly to put me in the spotlight, see the pieces below:

Tags: PhD | thesis | defense | media | publicity

08-12-2017 | Bas Hofstra

Promotion and publicity

Upcoming December 15th I will defend my thesis and I'm very much looking forward to that! In this spirit, I've published some shorter Dutch papers/pieces that talk about my dissertation in a broader perspective and have done an interview. You can find them here:

Tags: thesis | publications | media | publicity

21-08-2017 | Bas Hofstra

New position!

On August 18, I started my new job at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. I am really excited to have been granted this opportunity. I'll work with prof. Daniel McFarland, among others, to study the sociology of science and innovation. Simultaneously, I will continue my work on online social networks. You can find my Stanford profile here (I'll update it soon).

Tags: job | postdoc | stanford

17-07-2017 | Bas Hofstra

Download my dissertation!

I just uploaded my dissertation to the website, entitled "Online Social Networks: Essays on Membership, Privacy, and Structure". You can find it under the "Research & Publications" tab, or you can just download it by clicking on the icon below.

04-05-2017 | Bas Hofstra


New publication!

Yesterday our new article was published in American Sociological Review. The title is "Sources of Segregation in Social Networks: A Novel Approach Using Facebook". Authors: myself, Rense Corten, Frank van Tubergen, and Nicole Ellison.

This paper proposes a new approach to the study of segregation in social networks by considering the relationships people have on Facebook. We illustrate the importance of context, rather than preferences, when it comes to forging relationships.

This is a piece of work I am particularly happy with. The reason why I like is is that it combines some very cool stuff; in-depth survey data, (relatively) big data on online social networks, regular statistical inference, and computational methods. 

I also worked on this paper for way too long. We started writing things down late 2014 and started working on it seriously during my time at the University of Michigan School of Information at the beginning of 2015.

You can find it here:

Tags: publication | social networks

20-10-2016 | Bas Hofstra


A simple Twitter mining + Gephi visualization tutorial

October 24th I will give a guest lecture at the police academy (cool!) on mining social networks from social media. I'm definitely not an expert data miner, but because I've learned to collect social networks from social media through trial and error myself, I think I will be able to provide some good tips and tricks to them.

Because I also wanted to give some hands-on experience to them, I'll guide them through an assignment that I developed with Rense Corten for our "Internet, Social Media, and Networks" MA-course in Utrecht. Maybe some of you are interested in this assignment as well. Therefore, I uploaded it to the Data & Code tab. In case you have questions (and maybe tips for me) do not hesitate to contact me.

Tags: code | syntax | gephi | R | lecture

20-09-2016 | Bas Hofstra



Welcome to my new website! I'm Bas Hofstra and current Phd candidate at the Utrecht University, Department of Sociology and the Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS). My main areas of expertise are social networks, social media, (relatively) big data, and experimental sociology.

In my PhD thesis I study the complex interplay between off- and online social networks. Specifically, I study (early) adoption of social media platforms, privacy, and the (consequences of) size, structure and segregation in networks off- and online. I combine traditional survey data and (big) data obtained from online platforms. 

Please browse around my website: you'll find that it is full of information! When you click the slideshow-banner above you will be directed to my journal-publications. PDF's of these publications and a little bit more informaiton about my current research projects can be found under the header "Research & Publications".

If you are a current or prospective student, check out the "Teaching" tab, as it will direct you to some nice sources of information for the BA- and MA-programmes in sociology at Utrecht University. 

The "Data & Code" tab provides information about the data collection projects I'm currently involved in. At some point in the future I'll try to upload some syntax; course materials in R and Stata, some basic templates for handling data, as well as code for reproducing the results in my published papers.

As for the "Blog" section, I have the intention to fill it up with, but not limited to, nerd-stuff on science, sociology, social networks, social media, etc. Keep checking the website for updates.

Tags: welcome | website


Bas Hofstra

Stanford University

Graduate School of Education

520 Galvez Mall, Office 448

Stanford, CA 94305

E-mail: bhofstra [at]