jority of college students are using these friend-networking sites for a significant portion of their day for reasons shown that online communication fosters relationship building, im- . tiracial, and 8 (%) were of Hispanic origin. Materials and. Understanding user behavior in social network sites (SNSs) is important . H1: (a ) The number of linked friends, (b) account longevity, that may then deepen relationships and facilitate access to sources of social support. Friend Networking Sites and Their Relationship to Adolescents' Well-Being and Social Self- DOI: /cpb · Source: PubMed.
Beyond a simple understanding of prevalence are related questions of what predicts profile browsing behavior and who engages in it? Thus, H1 examines whether these factors help to predict profile consumption behavior in an SNS in terms of indegree profile views: The second hypothesis thus predicts that: Profile browsing is more common among friends than it is among strangers. Individual differences among users may also influence communication patterns in SNSs Burke et al.
Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents' well-being and social self-esteem.
For the reasons articulated earlier, users with more friends may attract more profile views, and so it is reasonable to predict that as the number of friends users have increases, so might the incidence of indegree profile browsing. Also, because strangers typically do not have established, long-term relationships with profile owners that would provide a motive for repeat viewing, repeat indegree profile viewing should also favor friends over strangers.
Thus, it is hypothesized that: As the number of friends SNS users have increases, they will have more profile views from others, and more of their profile views will come from friends rather than from strangers. Repeat profile viewing is more common among friends than it is among strangers.Who Sang It Better: FRIENDS (US, Philippines, Switzerland, South Korea, Netherlands, UK)
Profile consumption behavior, information propagation, and social capital Perhaps more important than the question of the prevalence of profile browsing is the impact of this behavior on users. Putnam identified two forms of social capital, one derived from strong or intimate ties, called bonding social capital, and the other originating from weak network ties, called bridging social capital.
Closer relationships such as those with friends and family members provide bonding social capital, which enables emotional support, reciprocity, and companionship Burke et al.
SNSs are thought to provide social capital benefits by increasing means and opportunities for communication between people, which can serve as a basis of social support and information sharing. SNSs are theorized to increase bonding social capital by helping users identify common ground with others that may then deepen relationships and facilitate access to sources of social support.
SNSs are also believed to increase bridging social capital by lowering the costs of communication with weaker ties or enabling connections to form between strangers, thus allowing individuals to maintain a larger and more diverse network of ties, through which novel information can flow Ellison et al.
As mentioned earlier, recent work has begun to examine the link between specific uses of SNSs and social capital, finding that different uses lead to different social capital benefits for a review, see Antheunis et al. For example, Papacharissi and Mendelson found that using Facebook for sharing personal information and for relaxation were more conducive to social capital than other types of uses.
On the other hand, however, the theories that have been invoked to explain the link between SNS use and bridging social capital support the idea that strangers may also offer some social capital benefits.
Latent Tie theory Haythornthwaite,says communication media enable individuals to open new paths for information flows by providing an infrastructure of latent ties i.
Based on this, Ellison et al. Yet very little is known about the relationship between profile browsing among friends or strangers and social capital. Only a small handful of studies have attempted to look at profile consumption behavior and social capital online, and they reached mixed conclusions Burke et al.
For example, Ellison et al.
Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents' well-being and social self-esteem.
And Burke et al. These two studies reach conflicting conclusions about the impact of profile browsing on social capital. Moreover, only one of these studies considered profile browsing among strangers, finding that using Facebook to learn about strangers may not be linked to social capital outcomes.
Conflicting results across prior studies of profile browsing and the theoretical reasons articulated earlier that profile browsing among friends and strangers should be an efficient means of obtaining novel information upon which social capital can be obtained warrant further research on this topic. The idea that information propagation across network ties can increase social capital stems from the earliest conceptualizations of social capital that define it as the ability for people to access resources in their social network e.
Theoretically, then, information flowing between any nodes in a network has the capacity to increase social capital because it would help those nodes become aware of, locate, and thus potentially access available resources.
Other studies find that SNS lurking results in information gain e. In sum then, this study adds to the literature on social capital by taking Ellison et al. In other words, we propose that mere profile browsing can itself impart informational resources between users, and thus social capital benefits.
Specifically, in our study we investigate how relatively passive profile browsing behavior impacts the rate of information propagation in an SNS that could underlie the formation of bridging social capital. To do this, the capacity of profile browsing among both linked friends and strangers to spread information across a social network is measured and compared to more active forms of social interaction in a SNS in order to answer the following research question: How do visible interaction and profile browsing among friends and strangers compare in terms of their ability to propagate information across an SNS?
Method Gathering data on profile browsing is a significant challenge because most SNSs, including Facebook, do not make these data available to external researchers or to web crawlers. Thus, the data for this study come from Renren www. Renren is a clone of Facebook, with very similar structure, user interface, and features see Figure 1 and, like Facebook, Renren evolved from a university-based social network called Xiaonei. As in Facebook, Renren users maintain personal profiles, upload photos, write status updates and diary entries wall postsand establish bidirectional social links with their friends.
Figure 1 Screenshots of Facebook and Renren user profile. Unlike Facebook, however, Renren has two unique features that make it a particularly attractive platform to study user behavior.
Indeed, the data for this study are based on a social graph with 42 million users and 1. Second, each Renren user profile shows the total number of visitors to that profile, along with names and links to the last nine visitors ordered from most to least recent, which is updated in real time and visible to profile owners.
In addition, each photo and diary entry has its own page that includes a count of visits by users other than the profile owner. These records expose profile browsing events i. Two methods were applied to the Renren social graph data to investigate the hypotheses and research questions advanced in this study. The first method involved a large-scale crawl of the Renren network to measure properties of profile browsing, including its prevalence as compared to visible interactions.
The second method employed a simulation using cascade models to measure and compare information propagation via visible interaction versus profile browsing across the network. Each method is explained below. Crawling the Renren social network to analyze the nature and prevalence of profile browsing Data captured from crawling the entire Renren network over a three-month period produced an exhaustive snapshot that included 42, users and 1,, Friendship links. Because we collected the network memberships of all users during our complete crawl, we were able to isolate themembers of the PKU network to seed our detailed crawl.
Of these users, the majority During the PKU crawls, we gathered all comments generated by users in message board posts, diary entries, photos, and status updates. Weinreich, personal communication, July 11, While people were already flocking to the Internet, most did not have extended networks of friends who were online. Early adopters complained that there was little to do after accepting Friend requests, and most users were not interested in meeting strangers.
From toa number of community tools began supporting various combinations of profiles and publicly articulated Friends. AsianAvenue, BlackPlanet, and MiGente allowed users to create personal, professional, and dating profiles—users could identify Friends on their personal profiles without seeking approval for those connections O.
Wasow, personal communication, August 16, Likewise, shortly after its launch inLiveJournal listed one-directional connections on user pages. Fitzpatrick, personal communication, June 15, —on LiveJournal, people mark others as Friends to follow their journals and manage privacy settings.
Skog, personal communication, September 24, The next wave of SNSs began when Ryze. Scott, personal communication, June 14, In particular, the people behind Ryze, Tribe. They believed that they could support each other without competing Festa, In the end, Ryze never acquired mass popularity, Tribe. Like any brief history of a major phenomenon, ours is necessarily incomplete. In the following section we discuss Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook, three key SNSs that shaped the business, cultural, and research landscape.
It was designed to compete with Match. While most dating sites focused on introducing people to strangers with similar interests, Friendster was designed to help friends-of-friends meet, based on the assumption that friends-of-friends would make better romantic partners than would strangers J.
Abrams, personal communication, March 27, Because organic growth had been critical to creating a coherent community, the onslaught of new users who learned about the site from media coverage upset the cultural balance.
Furthermore, exponential growth meant a collapse in social contexts: Users had to face their bosses and former classmates alongside their close friends. To complicate matters, Friendster began restricting the activities of its most passionate users. The initial design of Friendster restricted users from viewing profiles of people who were more than four degrees away friends-of-friends-of-friends-of-friends.
In order to view additional profiles, users began adding acquaintances and interesting-looking strangers to expand their reach. The ultimate collectors were fake profiles representing iconic fictional characters: While few people actually created Fakesters, many more enjoyed surfing Fakesters for entertainment or using functional Fakesters e. Many early adopters left because of the combination of technical difficulties, social collisions, and a rupture of trust between users and the site boyd, b.
However, at the same time that it was fading in the U. Rheingold, personal communication, August 2, help strangers connect based on shared interests.
Care2 helps activists meet, Couchsurfing connects travelers to people with couches, and MyChurch joins Christian churches and their members. Furthermore, as the social media and user-generated content phenomena grew, websites focused on media sharing began implementing SNS features and becoming SNSs themselves.
Examples include Flickr photo sharingLast. FM music listening habitsand YouTube video sharing. With the plethora of venture-backed startups launching in Silicon Valley, few people paid attention to SNSs that gained popularity elsewhere, even those built by major corporations.
MSN Spaces also launched to lukewarm U. MySpace was begun in to compete with sites like Friendster, Xanga, and AsianAvenue, according to co-founder Tom Anderson personal communication, August 2, ; the founders wanted to attract estranged Friendster users T.
Anderson, personal communication, February 2, After rumors emerged that Friendster would adopt a fee-based system, users posted Friendster messages encouraging people to join alternate SNSs, including Tribe. Anderson, personal communication, August 2, One particularly notable group that encouraged others to switch were indie-rock bands who were expelled from Friendster for failing to comply with profile regulations.
While MySpace was not launched with bands in mind, they were welcomed. Indie-rock bands from the Los Angeles region began creating profiles, and local promoters used MySpace to advertise VIP passes for popular clubs.
Intrigued, MySpace contacted local musicians to see how they could support them T. Anderson, personal communication, September 28, Bands were not the sole source of MySpace growth, but the symbiotic relationship between bands and fans helped MySpace expand beyond former Friendster users. The bands-and-fans dynamic was mutually beneficial: Bands wanted to be able to contact fans, while fans desired attention from their favorite bands and used Friend connections to signal identity and affiliation.
Futhermore, MySpace differentiated itself by regularly adding features based on user demand boyd, b and by allowing users to personalize their pages. Teenagers began joining MySpace en masse in Unlike older users, most teens were never on Friendster—some joined because they wanted to connect with their favorite bands; others were introduced to the site through older family members. As teens began signing up, they encouraged their friends to join.
Rather than rejecting underage users, MySpace changed its user policy to allow minors. As the site grew, three distinct populations began to form: By and large, the latter two groups did not interact with one another except through bands. Afterwards, safety issues plagued MySpace. The site was implicated in a series of sexual interactions between adults and minors, prompting legal action Consumer Affairs, A moral panic concerning sexual predators quickly spread Bahney,although research suggests that the concerns were exaggerated.
Additionally, previously popular communication and community services began implementing SNS features. The Chinese QQ instant messaging service instantly became the largest SNS worldwide when it added profiles and made friends visible McLeod,while the forum tool Cyworld cornered the Korean market by introducing homepages and buddies Ewers, Blogging services with complete SNS features also became popular.