The pervasive presence of mobile personal devices with communication and computation capabilities together with the massive use of online social network systems (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, etc.) are increasingly creating a cyber-physical space where users can interact exploiting and generating information. Enriched with several sensing capabilities and networking interfaces, today’s portable devices are enabling new ways of communication including Mobile Networking in Proximity (MNP). This network mode complements the classic scenario with Internet coverage enlarging the range of functionalities of these devices through short-range communications (e.g., Bluetooth, WiFi Direct, etc.) in situations where Internet may not be available. When two devices are in proximity, they could still share information without the need of continual Internet connectivity just exploiting the meeting opportunities and activating an opportunistic hop-by-hop forwarding towards the destination.
In this view, the social-aware or social-inspired mobile networking research is increasingly underlining the benefits and the need of having knowledge of the social behavior of users for the MNP design. On one hand, the social behavior of mobile nodes can be extracted from mobility. On the other hand, also online social network interactions may provide information about user’s social behavior. As such, the convergence between the two worlds, the physical offline one made by mobile devices and the cyber online one made by the online social networks is getting more and more important, opening a novel and interesting research field with many challenging issues. The goal of this Computer Networks Special Issue is to solicit the research closely related to the mobile and social networking reporting advances on approaches, methods, and applications envisioning and addressing the challenges in this field.