May 16, 2022

Conference Paper: "Individual Behavior and Social Influence in Online Social Systems"

“Individual Behavior and Social Influence in Online Social Systems” (10 pages; PDF)


Manos Papagelis
University of Toronto

Vanessa Murdock
Yahoo! Research

Roelof van Zwol
Yahoo! Research


ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2011)
(via Yahoo Research)


The capacity to collect and analyze the actions of individuals in online social systems at minute-by-minute time granularity offers new perspectives on collective human behavior research. Macro- scopic analysis of massive datasets raises interesting observations of patterns in online social processes. But working at a large scale has its own limitations, since it typically doesn’t allow for interpre- tations on a microscopic level. We examine how different types of individual behavior affect the decisions of friends in a network. We begin with the problem of detecting social influence in a social system. Then we investigate the causality between individual behavior and social influence by observing the diffusion of an innovation among social peers. Are more active users more influential? Are more credible users more influential? Bridging this gap and finding points where the macroscopic and microscopic worlds converge contributes to better interpretations of the mechanisms of spreading of ideas and behaviors in networks and offer design opportunities for online social systems.

Direct to Full Text Paper:
“Individual Behavior and Social Influence in Online Social Systems” (10 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.