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Link Formation on Twitter: The Role of Achieved Status and Value Homophily

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Title: Link Formation on Twitter: The Role of Achieved Status and Value Homophily
Authors: Sun, Shujing
Rui, Huaxia
Keywords: Online Homophily
Reciprocal Relationship Formation
Social Media
Issue Date: 04 Jan 2017
Abstract: Homophily has been a widely recognized dominant factor in offline social network connection, which refers to one’s propensity to seek interactions with others of similar status or values. Existing studies regarding homophily factors have been limited mostly to offline sociodemographic characteristics, such as race, gender, religion, education and occupation, which may not necessarily manifest homophily in online social network. Some researchers dabble in online social network, but they extract homophily characteristics from static user profile or link data, which has not incorporated the dynamic process of social network. To better understand the key factors in the establishment of online relationship, we explore a large data set on Twitter, which contains all initiated links by 1453 organizational Twitter users over three months. An initiated link refers to organization following a user who is currently not a follower of the organization. We crawl data on a daily basis and monitor whether the initiated one-way link ends up with a two-way relationship. Based on the established homophily theory, we define two online homophily factors: achieved status homophily (estimated by the gap of the followers count), value homophily (measured by the overlap ratio of common followee, Pearson correlation, and Cosine similarity between two users’ tweets, respectively). We find that both homophily factors play a key role in the formation of online reciprocal relationship, and the effect of status homophily is larger for superior followee (one who has more followers than the corresponding organization) than for inferior followee (one who has less followers than the corresponding organization). Our finding not only extends the offline “individual- individual” homophily theory to the new online “organization- individual” relationship, but also provides Twitter users insight into extending their social network by strategically targeting followee.
Pages/Duration: 10 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9981331-0-2
DOI: 10.24251/HICSS.2017.676
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Appears in Collections:Strategy, Information, Technology, Economics, and Society (SITES) Minitrack

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