Online social networks are complex systems often involving millions or even billions of users. Understanding the dynamics of a social network requires analysing characteristics of the network (in its entirety) and the users (as individuals). This paper focuses on calculating user’s social influence, which depends on (i) the user’s positioning in the social network and (ii) interactions between the user and all other users in the social network. Given that data on all users in the social network is required to calculate social influence, something not applicable for today’s social networks, alternative approaches relying on a limited set of data on users are necessary. However, these approaches introduce uncertainty in calculating (i.e., predicting) the value of social influence. Hence, a methodology is proposed for evaluating algorithms that calculate social influence in complex social networks; this is done by identifying the most accurate and precise algorithm. The proposed methodology extends the traditional ground truth approach, often used in descriptive statistics and machine learning. Use of the proposed methodology is demonstrated using a case study incorporating four algorithms for calculating a user’s social influence.
Volume 2018, Article ID 1084795, 20 pages
A Methodology for Evaluating Algorithms That Calculate Social Influence in Complex Social Networks
Vanja Smailovic, Vedran Podobnik and Ignac Lovrek