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Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do

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Researchers at McGill University recently conducted an experiment to test the Generalized Friendship Paradox.

Credit: Thinkstock

The Generalized Friendship Paradox stipulates that on average, a person's friends post more material and are more influential on social networks than they are. McGill University researchers recently conducted an experiment testing to what extent the paradox is present on Twitter, and how it is reflected in the network structure.

The researchers used new methods to measure user influence and the extent to which the Generalized Friendship Paradox exists in social networks to conclude up to 90% of users experience the paradox, including those with relatively high levels of activity and influence.

The researchers attribute this phenomenon to the fact that people at any level of activity and influence tend to follow others who are more active and influential than themselves.

"Social networks do not simply comprise a few ultra-popular people with tens of millions of followers, followed by the masses, and who themselves only follow a few others," says McGill professor Michael Rabbat. "Apparently, it's just the way we're connected."

For example, those who have millions of connections mostly follow others with millions of connections, while users with thousands of connections tend to follow others with thousands or millions of connections.

From McGill Newsroom
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Abstracts Copyright © 2016 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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