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Vol. 25 (2010) No. 1 P 78-89




In recent years, application of Social Networking Services (SNS) and Blogs are growing as new communication tools on the Internet. Several large-scale SNS sites are prospering; meanwhile, many sites with relatively small scale are offering services. Such small-scale SNSs realize small-group isolated type of communication while neither mixi nor MySpace can do that. However, the studies on SNS are almost about particular large-scale SNSs and cannot analyze whether their results apply for general features or for special characteristics on the SNSs. From the point of view of comparison analysis on SNS, comparison with just several types of those cannot reach a statistically significant level. We analyze many SNS sites with the aim of classifying them by using some approaches. Our paper classifies 50,000 sites for small-scale SNSs and gives their features from the points of network structure, patterns of communication, and growth rate of SNS. The result of analysis for network structure shows that many SNS sites have small-world attribute with short path lengths and high coefficients of their cluster. Distribution of degrees of the SNS sites is close to power law. This result indicates the small-scale SNS sites raise the percentage of users with many friends than mixi. According to the analysis of their coefficients of assortativity, those SNS sites have negative values of assortativity, and that means users with high degree tend to connect users with small degree. Next, we analyze the patterns of user communication. A friend network of SNS is explicit while users' communication behaviors are defined as an implicit network. What kind of relationships do these networks have? To address this question, we obtain some characteristics of users' communication structure and activation patterns of users on the SNS sites. By using new indexes, friend aggregation rate and friend coverage rate, we show that SNS sites with high value of friend coverage rate activate diary postings and their comments. Besides, they become activated when hub users with high degree do not behave actively on the sites with high value of friend aggregation rate and high value of friend coverage rate. On the other hand, activation emerges when hub users behave actively on the sites with low value of friend aggregation rate and high value of friend coverage rate. Finally, we observe SNS sites which are increasing the number of users considerably, from the viewpoint of network structure, and extract characteristics of high growth SNS sites. As a result of discrimination on the basis of the decision tree analysis, we can recognize the high growth SNS sites with a high degree of accuracy. Besides, this approach suggests mixi and the other small-scale SNS sites have different character trait.

Copyright © 2010 JSAI (The Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence)