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Online Activity Grows in a Similar Pattern to Those of Real-Life Networks


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Lingfei Wu

Lingfei Wu, a researcher at the City University of Hong Kong

Credit: Courtesy of City University of Hong Kong's Web Lab

Accelerating growth patterns appear in the virtual world, according to Lingfei Wu, a researcher at the City University of Hong Kong.

The phenomenon confirms that assigning user-chosen keywords to a piece of information to facilitate searches does not correlate in a linear way to the number of social media users using Internet tagging.

Wu used the tagging behavior on the Flickr and Delicious social media sites to study the growing activity of online communities. Although the number of tags and the population fluctuates, communities have heterogeneity in individual tagging activity that remains constant over time, but differs across systems, according to Wu.

The average individual activity will grow as the system expands and lead to the accelerating growth of overall activity. Such modeling of online activity growth could be used to predict the server capacity needs of social media sites on the basis of historical data. Wu plans to develop a unified model that explains the regularity governing the scaling up of both real-life systems and virtual communities.

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