Social Influence Analysis for Information Diffusion in Complex Commercial Network

Social Influence Analysis for Information Diffusion in Complex Commercial Network

Amrit Kaur Saggu (Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, Noida, India) and Adwitiya Sinha (Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, Noida, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 38
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSS.2020010102

Abstract

Social influence causes ideas to diffuse across the globe and track the rate at which awareness spans through online social communities. The users with better connectivity and higher interactivity bear greater potentials of spreading as well as perceiving the social trend. This concept has been further considered in the research to identify such prospective users in social network with high probability of influencing the opinions of others to whom they are connected. For the experimentation, Twitter profiles of 1900 followers from three major e-commerce portals, including Amazon, Snapdeal, and Flipkart, have been extracted to serve as the social network for conducting research. Acquired data is further narrowed down to yield a set of influential users in terms of central and centrally active, which are parameterized by neighborhood size and frequency of Twitter activity of individuals. Diffusion analysis is further performed on the derived set of key influencers to track the rate at which information propagates in the network.
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1. Introduction

The social media connects billions of users across the world based on their profile preferences and common interests. The profile of the user records personal description, location, interests, friends, followers, multimedia-based information, including pictures, audio, video, and text that is being expressed via social media portals, and so forth. Based on the similarity of the interests being shared amongst people, they form connections thereby leading to the formation of wide-scale virtual networks (VNs). Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., accounts for some of the digital media platforms that provide this opportunity to their patrons to create such VNs. Patrons are allowed to communicate with the members of their networks by expressing ideas through posts, opinions, comments, likes, dislikes, and sharing of contents. This act of sharing information or expressing one's viewpoint through such media-enhanced services, assists widespread connections with others, therefore serving as grounds for carrying out commercial activities (Matsubara et. al., 2017). A prominent trend observed by people forming VNs on social media is no different than what happens in real-life networks. One may expand connections across one's specific networks through mutual contacts acting as bridges to facilitate communication amongst users belonging to different networks. Similarly, account holders on social media platforms initially form their respective networks based on sending friend requests as in the case of Facebook or following their close acquaintances as on Twitter. Expansion of connections is carried out by mutual friends or connections, which allows one person from a VN to establish links in another distinct network, formed by mutual interests. Hence, a plethora of information can pave its way deeper into larger-sized networks (Wongthongtham & Salih, 2018) evolving gradually. Exploiting this vast connectivity aspect of the social media, the business firms harness influences by providing those services that mainly includes advertising of products, spreading awareness regarding promotional events, giving out deals, offers, combos, etc. or even organizing launch of some events (Gomez-Rodriguez et al., 2016). The political organizations also make liberal use of freedom of speech on their social media accounts to carry through a bundle of tasks, including organizing party campaigns, announcing important dates (for instance, budget announcement date, region-wise dates of elections, etc.), propagating party agendas, policies, etc. Apart from business and politics, sectors of news and publishing media, educational course content delivery, environmental concern areas, also have great indulgence in social media to spread information and knowledge. The research undertaken focuses on what ways VNs, formed on Twitter, are utilized by the e-commerce industry to accomplish business-related tasks, of which viral marketing is a significant area of research. The following sub-sections describe the key areas targeted in researching meticulously, detailing e-commerce, viral marketing, and information diffusion, followed by respective challenges in the research area (Abu-Salih et. al., 2018; Abu-Salih et. al., 2019)

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