Selective behavior in online social networks

Chunjing Xiao, Ling Su, Juan Bi, Yuxia Xue, Aleksandar Kuzmanovic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


According to the classical communication theories, known as Gate keeping and Selective Exposure, individuals tend to have selective behavior when they disseminate and receive information based on their psychological preferences. Selective behavior related to these two theories have been broadly studied separately. While, thanks to the advent of Online Social Networks (OSNs), larger-scale feedback and user information can be collected. In this paper, based on these data, We analyze the correlation among users' properties (such as age, gender, and cultural background) and analyze their selective behavior by tagging users as disseminators and/or audiences in YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter. We find that despite enormous amount of content available in OSNs, users have a comparatively small selective range and do exhibit selective behavior properties. In particular, they pay the most attention to the content published by disseminators that share similar properties, i.e., gender, age, and country. Nonetheless, we also find significant differences and commonalities among the three OSNs with respect to selective behavior. In particular, (i) the proportion and properties of disseminators, audiences, and dual-role users are quite different for the three networks, (ii) the global level of information spread in Flickr is almost two times than that in Twitter and YouTube is approximately the median one, (iii) For a given country, the global level of information spread is different for different OSNs. For a given OSN, it is different for different countries, (iv) despite ubiquitous presence of dual-role users in OSNs, most of such users are very active as either disseminators or audiences, but not both. Our findings are not only useful for understanding these two theories, but also have applications ranging from advertising and recommendation systems to developing predicting models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2012 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, WI 2012
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2012
Event2012 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, WI 2012 - Macau, China
Duration: Dec 4 2012Dec 7 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2012 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, WI 2012


Other2012 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, WI 2012


  • Gatekeeping
  • Information propagation
  • Selective Exposure
  • Social Networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software


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