CHAPTER 1Users: The Who of Social Media

Social media revolves around users, and their activities and interactions. Users create the content, communicate with each other, and ultimately keep the service alive and growing. This chapter looks at the typical user's behavior on social media services and the universal similarities you can see across the different services.

First, we focus on the most basic questions about the overall activity of those using the service: Are there some regularities in their aggregate statistics? If regularities exist in one service, can they be generalized to other systems? A few very basic conditions affecting usage give rise to measured activity distributions, and we quantify the differences among users in terms of overall activity with the help of observed regularities. Because activity distributions have a specific analytical form, we discuss why it's hard to take and interpret averages in actual social media systems in the presence of such distributions.

Throughout, we support our conclusions with data collected from Wikipedia and Twitter.

Measuring Variations in User Behavior in Wikipedia

One of the most important questions in terms of user activities is: How much do users contribute to, or use, the service? You can look at this question from many different points of view, but certainly one of the most straightforward ways to characterize users is to describe how frequently they come back and are present on the service. You can certainly expect ...

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