Network Value.

Last time I have been writing about the size of social networks, hence the quantitative characteristics. Today I want to continue with a brief article about a related subject: the value of networks. 

Since the advent of telecommunication and broadcast media, scholars from around the world studied the economies of mediated networks. To identify the value of a certain network was an important issue and part of monetization strategies. Network laws can be used as guidelines to determine the value of certain networks. Although an important aspect has always been the direct economic value of the network, other values such as diffusion, dynamic, or potency of the network are becoming increasingly important recently as they may lead to possible indirect monetization strategies. Although most of these laws have been invented with the concept of electronic networks in mind, it is also absolutely necessary to understand them for the study of non-mediated social networks.

An early law of the economics of computer-mediated networks is called Sarnoff’s law. This law was drafted in the early twentieth century by David Sarnoff, a pioneer of commercial US-American radio and television. Continue reading

Social Network Size.

In his 1993 study Robin Dunbar took a look at the proportion of the cortical size (the outer part of the brain, that is involved in higher functions such as spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and language) to the total brain size, and compared the results with group sizes and language of humans beings. Dunbar developed an equation to calculate an average group size that a human being is able to overlook. The result was 147.8, with a rather wide range of possible variation from 100.2 to 231.1. These cognitive limitations of stable social relationships have come to be known as Dunbar’s number (Dunbar, 1993). Continue reading

Social Bot Design Strategies.

At the time of writing social bots have still been barley examined. Only few academic research can be found on this topic and it is only possible to identify few design approaches of sophisticated social media bots. The few documented approaches have been published by researchers. It is to assume that there are other social bots that have not been identified yet.

We can identify social bots of three types: Continue reading

Introduction to social bots.

Bots, also known as Web Robots or Internet Bots, are software that is used to do simple and repetetive tasks to substitute human labor. The most widespread use of bots is in web site spidering or web site crawling where these programs crawl and index web sites to create a map of the internet.

Bots are part of the internet since the very beginning. There is a growing number of bot types that can be encounter nowadays. Apart from web crawlers, bots have been widely used as spambots to distribute spam emails or as chatterbots (also called talk bots, chatterboxes or artificial conversational entitities), bots that simulate human conversation, mainly in a chat room or instant messaging environment, and intent to fool human users into thinking that the program is a human being. Continue reading

Social Bots.

These days I spent a some time investigation social bots. That are computer bots, software programs, that are designed to participate in human compunication via social media.

The idea of bots as helpers or administrators is nothing new to information technology. Lots of them are in use as chat bots observing the behavior chat room users, for instance. But these modern social bots are more.

Social bots are different to classic bots as they try to trick other human users into believing that they are human. Another speciallity is that they cannot only participate in communication, but they also activlely form the typology of their proper social network by creating connections to other users (friending/following).

The quality of such bots is still very inconsistens and many bots can easily be identified as such though engaging them into a profound conversation.

If you have some programming knowledge you can easily create your own sophisticated bot using the real boy (, but there is also a simpler way to maintain your proper twitter bot through the website (

Scalability of Social Networks.

Doing my usual research I have encountered an interesting report today which I would like to mention here.

The report is called “The Strength of Internet Ties. The internet and email aid users in maintaining their social networks and provide pathways to help when people face big decisions” (Rainie et al., 2006)

Focusing on email communication the report describes what effects the internet has on our social network and how it enables new possibilities to encounter help and make decisions. I do not want to talk about the Help and Decision part in this blog post, although it is worth reading, what I am interested in are the effects on our social networks. Continue reading