Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Life and death of online communities

The more heterogeneous the community of an online chat channel, the more chances the channel has to survive over time. This has been concluded in a new joint study carried out by researchers of the University of Haifa and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

“This study has shown that an essentially social characteristic significantly influences the survival chances of an online community,” says Dr. Daphne Raban of the University of Haifa who took part in the study.

The study, headed by Dr. Quentin Jones of the New Jersey Institute of Technology with Dr. Mihai Moldovan of NJIT and Dr. Raban, aimed to examine what factors could best predict the chances of an online community to survive over time. Researchers have previously claimed that there are too many variables influencing the survival or demise of such channels and that there is therefore no way of testing it, and earlier studies have primarily focused on group size and activity.

The current study included an analysis of social characteristics, such as the group’s homogeneity and heterogeneity. A group is considered homogeneous when its member turnover is small - namely, when the members who established the group are still the main members after some time. A group is considered heterogeneous when it has turnover and new members are continuously joining it.

A sample 282 chat channels all “born” on the same month was used for survival analysis which explored the relationship between the overall user activity in each channel at its inception and the channel’s life expectancy. The researchers carried out the survival analysis over the course of six months after “birth”. A chat channel was considered “born” when at least three members had exchanged at least four messages in 20 minutes. It was considered “dead” when it had zero activity for four weeks.

The researchers observed the influences of variables at four points of time: two hours after “birth”; on the channel’s first day of activity; over its first week of activity; and over its first two weeks of activity.

Results show that the variable that best predicts the chances of a community to survive is its level of heterogeneity: the greater the member turnover, the higher the chances that the group will sustain itself over time. On the other hand, the number of members and the number of actual message posters do not predict the chances of survival.

According to the current study, another reliable predictor is the number of messages that are posted between members of an online community. This number does not have much significance over the first two hours of the group’s existence, but the higher the number of messages between members over the following three time phases, the higher the chances of the community’s survival over time. The study also revealed that if the ratio between the number of messages and the number of members in a group remains the same after two weeks of the community’s activity, the chances of “death” are higher, while an irregular ratio predicts survival. It should be noted that neither an increasing ratio of messages between members nor a decreasing ratio were found to influence the chances of survival.

“The present study shows that prediction of an online community’s survival chances cannot be based on quantitative data relating to the size of the group or even to its growth rate alone. A social predictor, on the other hand, can much better predict its chances,” concludes Dr. Raban.

Rachel Feldman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht Product placement: Only brands placed very prominently benefit from 3D technology
07.07.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

nachricht NASA Goddard network maintains communications from space to ground
02.03.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>