Analysis and Evaluation of the Connector Website

Analysis and Evaluation of the Connector Website

Paul DiPerna (The Blau Exchange Project, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-974-8.ch022
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This chapter proposes a new theoretical construct for evaluating Websites that facilitate online social networks. The suggested model considers previous academic work related to social networks and online communities. This study’s main purpose is to define a new kind of social institution, called a “connector Website”, and provide a means for objectively analyzing Web-based organizations that empower users to form online social networks. Several statistical approaches are used to gauge Website-level growth, trend lines, and volatility. This project sets out to determine whether or not particular connector Websites can be mechanisms for social change, and to quantify the nature of the observed social change. The author hopes this chapter introduces new applications for Web log analysis by evaluating connector Websites and their organizations.
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Today many millions of Americans are utilizing “connector Websites” to serve as a proxy for Gladwell’s Connector. The connector Website is a proposed theoretical construct and is defined in this report. This type of Website is a new kind of social institution, and its public availability coincided with the emergence of the Internet in the mid-1990s. A connector Website has the capacity and function to provide contacts and facilitate social exchanges between people, and effectively build communities of users. It boosts timely and relevant interactions between individuals while enlarging the scale of social exchange processes, by way of online social search and social networking.

Social exchange applications (and technologies) collectively fortify the infrastructural backbone for connector Websites. To some degree, each Website allows for “social search” and “social networking”. It is an empirical question beyond the scope of this report to parse out to what extent a Website is used specifically for one purpose or the other. In general, connectors allow users to create self-identifying profiles, while also empowering them to search for others based on needs, interests, mutual “friends”, contacts, or other points of focus.

In the mid-to-late 1990s, the first connector Websites were those emphasizing social search, and more specifically, online dating (e.g., online trading and classifieds (e.g. Craigslist), and online auctions (e.g. eBay). A second generation of connectors gained national media attention around 2002, offering more explicit social networking options for professional/career networking (e.g. LinkedIn, Ryze), and for making new friends through mutual friends or interests (e.g. Friendster, MySpace, Facebook). In 2004 industry-leading companies like Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL started testing their own connector Websites to enhance their existing online communities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Wiki: A series of Web pages that allows users to generate content, but also allows others (often unrestricted) to edit the content. A tool for online collaboration and without constraints of time.

Chat: Also known as instant messaging. Allows people to communicate online by broadcasting messages to people in real time, often as one-on-one channel, but also in a group forum sometimes called a chat room.

Review: Also known as testimonial, bulletin, and wall. A structured discussion board that allows users to submit critical text about an idea, user, product, or message. Often supplements ratings. See

Discussion Board: Also known as forum, message board, and bulletin board. For the purpose of exchanging information only. A Website location where users may post text communication for one another. Not sensitive to time constraints or structures.

Webmail: Email received and sent only locally on a particular Website. The user’s other email accounts remain unaffected.

Social Network Site: Web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).

Blog: Shorthand for Weblog. A frequent and chronological publication of comments and thoughts on the Internet. It is a journal that may be instantly published to a host Web site.

Instant Messenger: An online service that alerts users when friends or colleagues are online and allows them to communicate with each other in real time on a private online chat window.

Tag: In the practice of collaborative categorization using freely chosen keywords, these are descriptors that individuals assign to objects. Tags can be used to specify properties of an object that are not obvious from the object itself. They can then be used to find objects with some desired set of properties, or to organize objects.

Social Networking: A term describing an online process. It is a Website technology that allows users to search, identify, and communicate with other people as contacts, fitting closest to their specified preferences and criteria.

User: One who uses a computer system, software application, or Website. Users may need to identify themselves for the purposes of accounting, security, logging and resource management. In order to identify oneself, a user has a user account and a user name, and in most cases also a password. Users employ the user interface for access to a system or Website, and the process of identification is often referred to as log in.

Online Community: Also known as virtual community. A group of people communicating or interacting with each other by means of information technologies, typically the Internet, rather than face to face. Online communities can be used loosely for a variety of social groups interacting via the Internet. The concept does not necessarily mean that there is a strong bond among the members. The term virtual community is attributed to the book of the same title by Howard Rheingold in 1993.

Connector Website: A Website providing a relatively simple means of interaction for users who seek to offer or obtain goods, services, or information. It is an intermediary offering peer-to-peer Web applications that collectively make up an infrastructure for social exchange, networking, and diffusion processes. Over time, user-to-user interactions gradually generate a majority portion of the Website content and the regulation of which is governed jointly between the host organization and the online community of users. Depending on the surrounding social and economic conditions, as well as site design and development, the connector Website should excel in facilitating the discovery and coordination of context-based communications and transactions.

Folksonomy: A word combining “folk” and “taxonomy,” meaning the “people’s classification management”. Refers to the collaborative but unsophisticated way in which information is being categorized on the Web. Instead of using a centralized form of classification, users are encouraged to assign freely chosen keywords (called tags) to pieces of information or data, a process known as tagging.

Stickiness: A popular term for marketing a message. Short-term stickiness describes a Website’s ability to keep a user on the Website for as long as possible. Long-term stickiness refers to a Website’s ability to motivate a user to return to that particular Website.

RSS Feed: Shorthand for Real Simple Syndication. A family of XML file formats for Web syndication used by news Websites and blogs.

Rating: Net feedback; an indicator of reputation on a particular Website.

Feedback: Website “currency” that builds or detracts reputation for users or specific content. Within a Website’s feedback system, for example, a user may give positive or negative point(s) to another user or that user’s posted content based on some interaction.

Widget: A Web widget is a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate HTML-based Web page by an end user without requiring additional compilation. They are derived from the idea of reusable code that has existed for years. Nowadays other terms used to describe Web widgets including: gadget, badge, module, capsule, snippet, mini and flake. Web widgets often but not always use DHTML, Adobe Flash or JavaScript programming languages.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Table of Contents
Bernard J. Jansen, Amanda Spink, Isak Taksa
Chapter 1
Bernard J. Jansen, Isak Taksa, Amanda Spink
This chapter outlines and discusses theoretical and methodological foundations for transaction log analysis. We first address the fundamentals of... Sample PDF
Research and Methodological Foundations of Transaction Log Analysis
Chapter 2
W. David Penniman
This historical review of the birth and evolution of transaction log analysis applied to information retrieval systems provides two perspectives.... Sample PDF
Historic Perspective of Log Analysis
Chapter 3
Lee Rainie, Bernard J. Jansen
Every research methodology for data collection has both strengths and limitations, and this is certainly true for transaction log analysis.... Sample PDF
Surveys as a Complementary Method for Web Log Analysis
Chapter 4
Sam Ladner
This chapter aims to improve the rigor and legitimacy of Web-traffic measurement as a social research method. I compare two dominant forms of... Sample PDF
Watching the Web: An Ontological and Epistemological Critique of Web-Traffic Measurement
Chapter 5
Kirstie Hawkey
This chapter examines two aspects of privacy concerns that must be considered when conducting studies that include the collection of Web logging... Sample PDF
Privacy Concerns for Web Logging Data
Chapter 6
Bernard J. Jansen
Exploiting the data stored in search logs of Web search engines, Intranets, and Websites can provide important insights into understanding the... Sample PDF
The Methodology of Search Log Analysis
Chapter 7
Anthony Ferrini, Jakki J. Mohr
As the Web’s popularity continues to grow and as new uses of the Web are developed, the importance of measuring the performance of a given Website... Sample PDF
Uses, Limitations, and Trends in Web Analytics
Chapter 8
Danielle Booth
This chapter is an overview of the process of Web analytics for Websites. It outlines how visitor information such as number of visitors and visit... Sample PDF
A Review of Methodologies for Analyzing Websites
Chapter 9
Gi Woong Yun
This chapter discusses validity of units of analysis of Web log data. First, Web log units are compared to the unit of analysis of television to... Sample PDF
The Unit of Analysis and the Validity of Web Log Data
Chapter 10
Kirstie Hawkey, Melanie Kellar
This chapter presents recommendations for reporting context in studies of Web usage including Web browsing behavior. These recommendations consist... Sample PDF
Recommendations for Reporting Web Usage Studies
Chapter 11
Seda Ozmutlu, Huseyin C. Ozmutlu, Amanda Spink
This chapter summarizes the progress of search engine user behavior analysis from search engine transaction log analysis to estimation of user... Sample PDF
From Analysis to Estimation of User Behavior
Chapter 12
Gheorghe Muresan
In this chapter, we describe and discuss a methodological framework that integrates analysis of interaction logs with the conceptual design of the... Sample PDF
An Integrated Approach to Interaction Design and Log Analysis
Chapter 13
Brian Detlor, Maureen Hupfer, Umar Ruhi
This chapter provides various tips for practitioners and researchers who wish to track end-user Web information seeking behavior. These tips are... Sample PDF
Tips for Tracking Web Information Seeking Behavior
Chapter 14
Sandro José Rigo
Adaptive Hypermedia is an effective approach to automatic personalization that overcomes the difficulties and deficiencies of traditional Web... Sample PDF
Identifying Users Stereotypes for Dynamic Web Pages Customization
Chapter 15
Brian K. Smith, Priya Sharma, Kyu Yon Lim, Goknur Kaplan Akilli, KyoungNa Kim, Toru Fujimoto
Computers and networking technologies have led to increases in the development and sustenance of online communities, and much research has focused... Sample PDF
Finding Meaning in Online, Very-Large Scale Conversations
Chapter 16
Isak Taksa, Sarah Zelikovitz, Amanda Spink
Search query classification is a necessary step for a number of information retrieval tasks. This chapter presents an approach to non-hierarchical... Sample PDF
Machine Learning Approach to Search Query Classification
Chapter 17
Seda Ozmutlu, Huseyin C. Ozmutlu, Amanda Spink
This chapter emphasizes topic analysis and identification of search engine user queries. Topic analysis and identification of queries is an... Sample PDF
Topic Analysis and Identification of Queries
Chapter 18
Elmer V. Bernstam, Jorge R. Herskovic, William R. Hersh
Clinicians, researchers and members of the general public are increasingly using information technology to cope with the explosion in biomedical... Sample PDF
Query Log Analysis in Biomedicine
Chapter 19
Michael Chau, Yan Lu, Xiao Fang, Christopher C. Yang
More non-English contents are now available on the World Wide Web and the number of non-English users on the Web is increasing. While it is... Sample PDF
Processing and Analysis of Search Query Logs in Chinese
Chapter 20
Udo Kruschwitz, Nick Webb, Richard Sutcliffe
The theme of this chapter is the improvement of Information Retrieval and Question Answering systems by the analysis of query logs. Two case studies... Sample PDF
Query Log Analysis for Adaptive Dialogue-Driven Search
Chapter 21
Mimi Zhang
In this chapter, we present the action-object pair approach as a conceptual framework for conducting transaction log analysis. We argue that there... Sample PDF
Using Action-Object Pairs as a Conceptual Framework for Transaction Log Analysis
Chapter 22
Paul DiPerna
This chapter proposes a new theoretical construct for evaluating Websites that facilitate online social networks. The suggested model considers... Sample PDF
Analysis and Evaluation of the Connector Website
Chapter 23
Marie-Francine Moens
This chapter introduces information extraction from blog texts. It argues that the classical techniques for information extraction that are commonly... Sample PDF
Information Extraction from Blogs
Chapter 24
Adriana Andrade Braga
This chapter explores the possibilities and limitations of nethnography, an ethnographic approach applied to the study of online interactions... Sample PDF
Nethnography: A Naturalistic Approach Towards Online Interaction
Chapter 25
Isak Taksa, Amanda Spink, Bernard J. Jansen
Web log analysis is an innovative and unique field constantly formed and changed by the convergence of various emerging Web technologies. Due to its... Sample PDF
Web Log Analysis: Diversity of Research Methodologies
About the Contributors