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Structure and evolution of online social relationships: heterogeneity in unrestricted discussions

Goh, Kwang-Il and Eom, Young-Ho and Jeong, Hawoong and Kahng, Byungnam and Kim, Dong-Hee Structure and evolution of online social relationships: heterogeneity in unrestricted discussions. Physical Review E, 73. 066123. ISSN 1539-3755 (2006)

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With the advancement in the information age, people are using electronic media more frequently for communications, and social relationships are also increasingly resorting to online channels. While extensive studies on traditional social networks have been carried out, little has been done on online social networks. Here we analyze the structure and evolution of online social relationships by examining the temporal records of a bulletin board system (BBS) in a university. The BBS dataset comprises of 1908 boards, in which a total of 7446 students participate. An edge is assigned to each dialogue between two students, and it is defined as the appearance of the name of a student in the from- and to-field in each message. This yields a weighted network between the communicating students with an unambiguous group association of individuals. In contrast to a typical community network, where intracommunities (intercommunities) are strongly (weakly) tied, the BBS network contains hub members who participate in many boards simultaneously but are strongly tied, that is, they have a large degree and betweenness centrality and provide communication channels between communities. On the other hand, intracommunities are rather homogeneously and weakly connected. Such a structure, which has never been empirically characterized in the past, might provide a new perspective on the social opinion formation in this digital era.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1103/PhysRevE.73.066123
Additional Information: © 2006 American Physical Society
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Research Area: Computer Science and Applications
Depositing User: Ms T. Iannizzi
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2014 14:40
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2014 13:57
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2380

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