Paper Accepted for CIKM

The 21st ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management

October 29 - November 2, 2012

Predicting Emerging Social Conventions in Online Social Networks

AUTHORS:  Farshad Kooti, Winter A Mason, Krishna P Gummadi, Meeyoung Cha

The way in which social conventions emerge in communities has been of interest to social scientists for decades. Here we report on the emergence of a particular social convention on Twitter—the way to indicate a tweet is being reposted and attributing the content to its source. Despite being invented at different times and having different adoption rates, only two variations became widely adopted. In this paper we describe this process in detail, highlighting the factors that come into play in deciding which variation individuals will adopt. Our classification analysis demonstrates that the date of adoption and the number of exposures are particularly important in the adoption process. However, personal features (such as the number of followers and join date) or the number of adopter friends had less discriminative power in predicting adoptions. We discuss implications of these findings in the design of future Web applications and services.