This book is about using data to understand how social media services are used. Since the advent of Web 2.0, sites and services that give their users the power to actively change and contribute to the services’ content have exploded in popularity. Social media finds its roots in early social networking and community communication services, including the bulletin board systems (BBS) of the 1980s, then the Usenet newsgroups, and Geocities in the ’90s, whose communities organized around topical interests and provided their users with either email or chat room communications. The worldwide information communication network known as the Internet gave rise to a higher-level networking: a global web of connections among like-minded individuals and groups. Although the basic idea of connecting people across the globe has changed little since then, the scope and influence of social media services have attained never-before seen proportions. Although it's natural that a large part of the conversation is still happening in the “real world,” the shift toward electronic information exchange on the level of human interactions has been getting stronger. The proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity puts the “Internet in our pockets,” and with it the possibility to get in touch with our friends, families, and preferred businesses, anytime, anywhere.

No wonder that a myriad of services has popped up and started serving our needs for communication and sharing, which led to ...

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