This post will consider how people share content on social networks. This will provide the background necessarily for designing structures to enable content sharing in our social network.
A study that was conducted to observe the way in which people share knowledge and participate in one of the largest forums, Yahoo Answers (YA), is highly relevant to our project; what people share, and who they share it with, were two factors that allow the formation of clusters in YA . The dataset used for this study has more than one million questions and around 8.5 million answers. By analysing the questions and the answers posted in YA, it was found that some users participate in many categories without focusing on a specific one while others prefer to narrow their participation and specialise in particular topics.
Moreover, the findings of this study shows that the responses which received high ratings are mapped to the users who have low entropy which means that they focus on specific areas. Interestingly, YA has more than twenty million answers which were posted voluntarily and this reflects the fact the people are willing to post and share their experience; a similar concept is exploited by LeapIn.it by allowing individuals who scan the same QR code to be transformed into the same virtual room where they can discuss, interact and give advice to each other.
Yahoo Answers has many sub categories which include technical answers that might be posted by experts whereas some questions open an area for discussion among YA users and some users post to get advices or support in some topics. Although YA allows people to interact by posting questions and answers, most people use it as an area for discussion and conversation which indicates the fact that people need and desire a large space to interact with other users who have shared interests.
This informed the design of LeapIn.it by providing users with different and broader ways of interaction such as video responses, text responses, photo sharing and voice chatting. These tools will give the opportunity to have a more developed user experience inside the virtual rooms and enhance the quality of socializing among the members of the virtual community.
By observing the activities of YA users for one month, around 500,000 distinct users asked questions and around 450,000 users replied to those questions. Furthermore, these numbers overlap, suggesting some users post questions and answers as well. This overlap doesn’t occur in complex questions that require technical expertise to answer but rather in discussions where people provide advice and support to other users.
As a result, we could interpret this to suggest that the level of participation is higher in non-technical discussions and therefore these discussions continue to receive more responses by many users. This is relevant to LeapIn.it because it reflects willingness of individuals to discuss their ideas and to post replies to each other. Furthermore, YA forums were classified into three groups, as shown in Figure 1, by measuring the number of replies to answered enquiries, the level of overlap between the questions and answers posted by the same user and the average length of answers within a forum.
The green triangles and blue diamonds in Figure 1 show that there are two non-technical categories which received many replies by the users. These two classes involve people who actively discuss, share experience and give advice on topics related to sports, fashion, pets, food, etc.
Moreover, this study shows that the users in the Wrestling class tend to form a social group because this group has the highest number of mutual edges between its members and the highest size of strongly connected components which means that those users are strongly connected to each other. As such, the findings of this analysis shows that some categories can be considered as related to each other, because some users tended to post in all of them and the connection between these classes indicates that users are not participating randomly. Instead, user interests are focused on some categories, which they choose to participate in.
Therefore, this classification of posting themes and the active participation of users in the two mentioned categories reveals individual willingness to share experiences and this can be linked to our project, especially as it will allow people to generate themes of common interests by scanning different objects from the real world to be transformed into the virtual world. Once in a virtual world, they can discuss and crowdsource ideas with other users who have common interests.
Adamic, Lada A., et al. “Knowledge sharing and yahoo answers: everyone knows something.” Proceedings of the 17th international conference on World Wide Web. ACM, 2008.
Edited By: MJD