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Social Dynamics in the Age of the Web Bernardo A. Huberman HP Labs social dynamics Bruegel, Peter the Younger. Village Feast traditional methods accurate but laborious facebook a massive social network used by millions of students and enterprise employees our analysis

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social dynamics in the age of the web

Social Dynamics in the Age of the Web

Bernardo A. Huberman

HP Labs

slide2

social dynamics

Bruegel, Peter the Younger. Village Feast

traditional methods accurate but laborious

facebook
facebook
  • a massive social network
  • used by millions of students and enterprise employees
our analysis
our analysis
  • 4.2 million users from 500 schools
  • 284 million messages, 79 million “pokes”
  • 26 months of activity

who do users communicate with, and when?

S. Golder, D. Wilkinson and B. A. Huberman, 3rd Int’l Conference on Communities and Technologies. June 28-30, 2007.

facebook5
facebook

Empirical analysis of real-world examples lead to the discovery of social dynamics on a massive scale, including consensus formation, collective categorization, and temporal patterns.

(Facebook analysis, 362 million emails among 4.2 million users-26 months)

Robust global patterns are plain when viewed in aggregate, but no individual could observe this phenomenon.

slide7

attention

attention

the economics of attention
the economics of attention

in the information age, the one scarce resource is attention

very valuable, hard to obtain and rather ephemeral

--- thus the intense messaging, from spam to news to advertising

two big problems for content providers, news and marketing people

  • 1. how to present the most salient items while taking into account the visual real estate available on a given device (especially the small ones)
  • 2. if a user can only attend to a finite number of items in a given time interval, what should be presented up front?
slide9

no problem

information poor environments

slide10

in information-rich environments, the scarce resource is attention

very valuable, ephemeral, and hard to obtain

big problem

viral marketing the network dimension
viral marketing – the network dimension

a way of drawing attention to specific products/news without broadcasting

an example of information flows inside a large social network

a study of15 million recommendations from amazon.com

does receiving more recommendations increases the likelihood of buying
does receiving more recommendationsincreases the likelihood of buying?

DVDs

BOOKS

J. Lefkovec, L. Adamic and B. A. Huberman, ACMTransactions on the Web, Vol. 1, 5 (2007)

attention the temporal dimension
attention - the temporal dimension
  • we share with others what captures our attention
  • as novelty fades we pay less attention and search for more

question: how does novelty interact with collective attention?

answer: in a highly nonlinear but predictable way

we studied 1 million users of digg com
we studied 1 million users of digg.com

the allocation of attention among items is universal

distribution of final digg numbers of 29684 stories

lognormal, as predicted

since attention depends on the order in which links are presented, we can dynamically reconfigure a site so as to maximize the number of hits it receives

the decay of novelty
the decay of novelty:

story “half life”: 69 minutes

F. Wu and B. Huberman, “Novelty and collective attention,” Proc. Natl. Acad. USA, Vol.105, 17599 (2007)

what follows
what follows?

knowledge of the determinants of attention can be used to dynamically configure websites so as to maximize the number of hits

or decide what to present so as to maximize the user’s utility

moreover:

an interesting tension between popularity and novelty as drivers of attention

example: should most popular have higher ranking than most novel?

slide20

opinions

attention

public opinions an expression of the collective intelligence
public opinions: an expression of the collective intelligence

opinions about new products

and institutions, political candidates, companies

people, movies, ideas

question?

how do opinions form and evolve?

a paradox
a paradox

similar to another paradox: why do people vote?

  • Downs (1957) Riker and Ordeshook (1968)
  • there is a cost to voting, and an expressive utility from doing so (Schuessler 2000)

why do people bother to post opinions? (millions do)

by contributing her own opinion to an existing opinion pool, a person affects the average by a marginal amoung that diminishes with the size of the pool (Wu and Huberman)

1 no history
1. no history

average essembly.com voting, EXn, as a function of the number of votes, n.

2 history available costless to vote
2.history available - costless to vote

sample average fraction of positive and negative votes in Jyte.com as a function of the number of votes n. evident polarization

measuring influence
measuring influence

consider n people having rated an item with values

if the (n+1) person rates the item, the average will move to:

so that the absolute change in rating will be:

in large groups influence means making the numerator large

slide26

3. costly to post reviews

extreme reviews 

moderate reviews 

average rating of 16,454 books on Amazon with more than 20 reviews.

softening of views over time.

slide27

making a difference

average deviation of Amazon ratings. 16,454 reviews of books with more than 20 reviews. people who disagree with current opinion tend to be the ones expressing their views

to learn more
to learn more

http://www.hpl.hp.com/research/idl