Such complex network features include a heavy tail in the degree distribution , a high clustering coefficient , assortativity or disassortativity among vertices, community structure see stochastic block model , and hierarchical structure. In the case of agency-directed networks these features also include reciprocity , triad significance profile TSP, see network motif , and other features. In contrast, many of the mathematical models of networks that have been studied in the past, such as lattices and random graphs , do not show these features.
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Various theoretical frameworks have been imported for the use of social network analysis. The most prominent of these are Graph theory , Balance theory , Social comparison theory, and more recently, the Social identity approach. Few complete theories have been produced from social network analysis. Two that have are structural role theory and heterophily theory. The basis of Heterophily Theory was the finding in one study that more numerous weak ties can be important in seeking information and innovation, as cliques have a tendency to have more homogeneous opinions as well as share many common traits.
This homophilic tendency was the reason for the members of the cliques to be attracted together in the first place. However, being similar, each member of the clique would also know more or less what the other members knew. To find new information or insights, members of the clique will have to look beyond the clique to its other friends and acquaintances.
This is what Granovetter called "the strength of weak ties". In the context of networks, social capital exists where people have an advantage because of their location in a network. Contacts in a network provide information, opportunities and perspectives that can be beneficial to the central player in the network. Most social structures tend to be characterized by dense clusters of strong connections. Non-redundant information is most often obtained through contacts in different clusters. An ideal network structure has a vine and cluster structure, providing access to many different clusters and structural holes.
Networks rich in structural holes are a form of social capital in that they offer information benefits. The main player in a network that bridges structural holes is able to access information from diverse sources and clusters. This concept is similar to Mark Granovetter's theory of weak ties , which rests on the basis that having a broad range of contacts is most effective for job attainment.
Communication Studies are often considered a part of both the social sciences and the humanities, drawing heavily on fields such as sociology , psychology , anthropology , information science , biology , political science , and economics as well as rhetoric , literary studies , and semiotics. Many communication concepts describe the transfer of information from one source to another, and can thus be conceived of in terms of a network. Barnes' day, a " community " referred to a specific geographic location and studies of community ties had to do with who talked, associated, traded, and attended church with whom.
Today, however, there are extended "online" communities developed through telecommunications devices and social network services. Such devices and services require extensive and ongoing maintenance and analysis, often using network science methods. Community development studies, today, also make extensive use of such methods. Complex networks require methods specific to modelling and interpreting social complexity and complex adaptive systems , including techniques of dynamic network analysis. Mechanisms such as Dual-phase evolution explain how temporal changes in connectivity contribute to the formation of structure in social networks.
In criminology and urban sociology , much attention has been paid to the social networks among criminal actors.
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For example, Andrew Papachristos  has studied gang murders as a series of exchanges between gangs. Murders can be seen to diffuse outwards from a single source, because weaker gangs cannot afford to kill members of stronger gangs in retaliation, but must commit other violent acts to maintain their reputation for strength.
Diffusion of ideas and innovations studies focus on the spread and use of ideas from one actor to another or one culture and another. This line of research seeks to explain why some become "early adopters" of ideas and innovations, and links social network structure with facilitating or impeding the spread of an innovation. In demography , the study of social networks has led to new sampling methods for estimating and reaching populations that are hard to enumerate for example, homeless people or intravenous drug users. For example, respondent driven sampling is a network-based sampling technique that relies on respondents to a survey recommending further respondents.
The field of sociology focuses almost entirely on networks of outcomes of social interactions. More narrowly, economic sociology considers behavioral interactions of individuals and groups through social capital and social "markets". Sociologists, such as Mark Granovetter, have developed core principles about the interactions of social structure, information, ability to punish or reward, and trust that frequently recur in their analyses of political, economic and other institutions.
Granovetter examines how social structures and social networks can affect economic outcomes like hiring, price, productivity and innovation and describes sociologists' contributions to analyzing the impact of social structure and networks on the economy. Analysis of social networks is increasingly incorporated into health care analytics , not only in epidemiological studies but also in models of patient communication and education, disease prevention, mental health diagnosis and treatment, and in the study of health care organizations and systems.
Human ecology is an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary study of the relationship between humans and their natural , social , and built environments. The scientific philosophy of human ecology has a diffuse history with connections to geography , sociology , psychology , anthropology , zoology , and natural ecology.
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Studies of language and linguistics , particularly evolutionary linguistics , focus on the development of linguistic forms and transfer of changes, sounds or words, from one language system to another through networks of social interaction. In the study of literary systems, network analysis has been applied by Anheier, Gerhards and Romo,  De Nooy,  and Senekal,  to study various aspects of how literature functions.
The basic premise is that polysystem theory, which has been around since the writings of Even-Zohar , can be integrated with network theory and the relationships between different actors in the literary network, e. Research studies of formal or informal organization relationships , organizational communication , economics , economic sociology , and other resource transfers. Social networks have also been used to examine how organizations interact with each other, characterizing the many informal connections that link executives together, as well as associations and connections between individual employees at different organizations.
Social capital is a form of economic and cultural capital in which social networks are central, transactions are marked by reciprocity , trust , and cooperation , and market agents produce goods and services not mainly for themselves, but for a common good.
Social capital is a sociological concept about the value of social relations and the role of cooperation and confidence to achieve positive outcomes.
The term refers to the value one can get from their social ties. For example, newly arrived immigrants can make use of their social ties to established migrants to acquire jobs they may otherwise have trouble getting e. A positive relationship exists between social capital and the intensity of social network use. In many organizations , members tend to focus their activities inside their own groups, which stifles creativity and restricts opportunities. A player whose network bridges structural holes has an advantage in detecting and developing rewarding opportunities.
British philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill , writes, "it is hardly possible to overrate the value Such communication [is] one of the primary sources of progress. This in turn, helps an individual's career development and advancement. A social capital broker also reaps control benefits of being the facilitator of information flow between contacts. In the case of consulting firm Eden McCallum, the founders were able to advance their careers by bridging their connections with former big three consulting firm consultants and mid-size industry firms.
There has been research that both substantiates and refutes the benefits of information brokerage. A study of high tech Chinese firms by Zhixing Xiao found that the control benefits of structural holes are "dissonant to the dominant firm-wide spirit of cooperation and the information benefits cannot materialize due to the communal sharing values" of such organizations. Information and control benefits of structural holes are still valuable in firms that are not quite as inclusive and cooperative on the firm-wide level.
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In , Ronald Burt studied managers who ran the supply chain for one of America's largest electronics companies. He found that managers who often discussed issues with other groups were better paid, received more positive job evaluations and were more likely to be promoted. Computer networks combined with social networking software produces a new medium for social interaction.
The content of a relation refers to the resource that is exchanged. In a computer mediated communication context, social pairs exchange different kinds of information, including sending a data file or a computer program as well as providing emotional support or arranging a meeting. With the rise of electronic commerce , information exchanged may also correspond to exchanges of money, goods or services in the "real" world.
In addition, the sheer size and the volatile nature of social media has given rise to new network metrics. A key concern with networks extracted from social media is the lack of robustness of network metrics given missing data. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Theoretical concept in sociology. This article is about the theoretical concept as used in the social and behavioral sciences.
For social networking sites, see Social networking service. For the movie, see The Social Network. For other uses, see Social network disambiguation. Metrics Algorithms. Main article: Social media. Bibliography of sociology Business networking Collective network International Network for Social Network Analysis Network society Network theory Semiotics of social networking Scientific collaboration network Social network analysis Social network sociolinguistics Social networking service Social web Structural fold.
Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. Cambridge University Press. Richard ; Davis, Gerald F. Organizations and Organizing. Pearson Prentice Hall. Empirical Press. Bibcode : Sci Social Network Analysis: A Handbook 2nd edition. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft , Leipzig: Fues's Verlag. Translated, , by Lewis A. Social Network Analysis: A Handbook. London: University of London Press.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Paris: La Haye, Mouton et Co. Translated, by J. Bell, J. Human Relations , 7 : 39— The Sociological Review. The Theory of Social Structure. London: Cohen and West. New York: The Free Press. The Social System.
User Perception of Targeted Ads in Online Social Networks
Bureaucracy in Modern Society. New York: Random House, Inc. The American Journal of Sociology , 65 6: —, May. Exchange and Power in Social Life. Wellman and S. Berkowitz eds. New York: Harper and Row, An Urban World. Boston: Little Brown, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nature Physics. Bibcode : NatPh Watts Oxford: Princeton University Press. Contemporary Sociology. Cambridge [u. Understanding social networks: Theories, concepts, and findings.
Oxford: Oxford University Press. American Journal of Sociology. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Meyers, ed. The Web promotes the establishment of so-called weak ties. In sociological terminology, relationships can be classified into those with strong ties and those with weak ties. The former term describes relationships that are characterised by strong emotional support and close interactions, whereas the latter describes relationships that are less intense Graef, Online social networking sites not only allow individuals to meet strangers, but they also enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks.
This may result in connections between individuals that would not otherwise have been made Haythornthwaite, By , nearly two-thirds of all Internet users will be regular users of social networks Williamson, a. Due to the strong multidisciplinary interest that this topic inspires, most existing definitions reflect a disciplinary perspective. Sociologists focus on networks of social relations and characteristics such as group size Wellman, Technology-oriented definitions distinguish between different developing and supporting software of online communities Mercer, ; Seufert et al.
Commercial-oriented definitions are mainly concerned with the business or revenue model Preece, Therefore, finding a suitable definition of online communities that everyone can agree with is a difficult task. The definition of Boyd and Ellison focuses on two crucial features of online social networks: profiles and connections . It neglects, however, other aspects that are of importance. In , Jennifer Preece developed a working definition of online communities, which is still widely accepted today.
It is broad enough to apply to a range of different networking sites and embraces key components of definitions put forth in previous literature. According to Preece, the following elements are common to all online social networks 10 :. A common and clearly defined purpose is crucial for an online community to retain existing members and attract new ones Preece, ; Abras et al.
Further, an online community needs certain rules or policies that direct and improve community life and the interactions between members Freyermuth, ; Kim, As with the definition of online social networks, there is no single, widely accepted typology of these networks due to the high diversity of dimensions used to categorise them.
Researchers often typify online social networks based on one or a few variables that are of importance to their scientific discipline. Furthermore, differentiation and classification becomes more and more difficult as the number and complexity of online communities steadily increases Porter, Brunold et al. Furthermore, they introduce seven special forms of online networks, which cannot solely be described with one of the above motives to join, such as instant messaging systems e.
Markus suggests another approach for classifying virtual communities. His scheme has recently gained in importance, and many researchers make use of it Porter, At the top level of the structure, a distinction is made between social, professional, and commercial online networks. These types can be broken down further. Although the classification scheme of Markus is widely accepted, no existing approach is all embracing, as new online communities that cannot be categorised unambiguously and do not clearly fit into a scheme are born every day Porter, .
Facebook could best be described as a community with a social orientation. It is not instrumental, however, to try to put Facebook in either one of the sub-categories of communities with a social orientation, as it encompasses aspects of both sub-categories e. Moreover, Facebook encompasses features of communities with a professional orientation special Facebook groups, learning apps and commercial orientation company fan pages. Online social networks can be very different in their composition and often integrate various features, leading to a high level of complexity.
Their backbone consists of visible profiles that display an articulated list of connections friends or contacts who are also users of the system. Due to the limited scope of this thesis, a detailed description of online social network features can be found in Appendix B.
In the next chapter, social network profiles will be examined in more detail with a focus on profile visibility and information disclosure. This leads the discussion to general privacy and data security concerns with regard to online communities. The visibility of a profile varies by site and according to user discretion. Recent studies document the extent to which users reveal personal information on their social network profiles. The research suggests a high level of personal information disclosure, including real names, images that enable identification of the person, birth dates, hometowns, and other sensitive information.
In analysing trust on social network sites, Dwyer et al. Facebook users, for example, expressed greater trust in Facebook than MySpace users did in MySpace and thus were more willing to share information. The above findings are of importance, as privacy awareness and trust may also impact on user perception of ads on social networks, which will be investigated in the empirical part of this thesis. In the next chapter, privacy and data security will be discussed in more depth. In a study examining privacy issues in online social networks, Jagatic et al.
Their targets were much more likely to give away information to this friend than to a stranger. Recent surveys offer a more optimistic perspective on privacy, suggesting that young people are aware of potential privacy threats online and that many are proactive about taking steps to minimise potential risks. According to Jones and Soltren , privacy on Facebook is undermined by three principal factors: users disclose too much, Facebook does not take adequate steps to protect user privacy, and third parties such as advertisers are actively seeking out end-user information.
Rapp et al. Many things have changed since the study of Jones and Soltren in ; however, their main conclusions are still up-to-date. Most Facebook offerings have expanded access to user information and generated privacy concerns. For example, Facebook is using opt-out mechanisms for its privacy settings instead of opting-in  eMarketer, In February , Facebook created another controversy by changing its terms of service without prior announcement.
Privacy issues also occur when users attempt to control impressions and manage social contexts. To summarise this chapter, privacy and data security are very important issues. Although research shows that a sizeable portion of users is unaware of or not interested in the accessibility of their data, social networks such as Facebook repeatedly make the headlines when it comes to privacy online. User attitudes towards privacy are also a major concern with regard to targeted advertising on Facebook, which will be examined in the empirical study in Chapter 5.
In the next chapter, Facebook as a company will be introduced. Groups and pages are especially interesting with regard to social media marketing, which will be discussed in Chapter 3. Some of the impressive statistics of Facebook include the following Facebook, a; Roth, a :. Today, Facebook is by far the largest and fastest growing online social network in terms of members, unique visitors, active users, and most other key indicators. Figure 3 shows the year-to-year growth in unique visitors of the leading social networks in the US.
The demographic distribution of Facebook users is another interesting area to examine. Figure 4 displays the demographic distribution of Facebook users in Germany in July The next part of this thesis is concerned with online advertising and, in particular, advertising on social networks. This growth is mainly driven by the ongoing shift of marketing dollars away from traditional media toward the Internet eMarketer, The Internet now accounts for In examining social media and how to use them for marketing purposes, it is important to realise that Internet advertising is still relatively young, having begun in Moreover, for much of the first decade of its existence, failure was more common than success.
Ill-fated attempts to apply principles from other media led to online advertising formats such as pop-up ads or banner ads  , which contributed to these early failures Taylor, Over the last six years, multiple factors have, however, contributed to the Internet achieving the status of a major medium for advertising. First, a very large portion of the population has access to the Internet as compared to earlier periods Smalla, In June , approximately 1.
Today, the Internet is a mass medium, and we can observe a habitualisation of Internet usage: users spend up to minutes per day online Smalla.
Second, technological advancements such as the advent of broadband allow for more effective use of the Internet and rich media content, allowing more options for advertisers. Third, by , advertisers realised the unique potential of search engines as an advertising medium. By this time, advertisers as well as search engine companies such as Google understood how consumers searched for information online and noticed an immense opportunity for behavioural targeting  by matching ads to searches.
Subsequently, online advertising grows at faster rates than other media, and new forms of Internet advertising such as social media marketing have also begun to grow Taylor, In the next chapter, different types of online advertising and mechanisms to deliver ads targeting will be introduced. Many different types of Internet advertising can be found online.
Due to a lack of agreed standards, there is no widely accepted terminology or typology of online advertising formats Smalla, According to Matin , Internet advertising can simply be categorised as display-based and search-based advertising. The difference between the two is described as the pattern in which the ads appear. Display-based ads present a mixture of old media technology, banner ads, and new rich media, while search-based adverts are displayed based on search engine queries.
Their typology is not supposed to be exhaustive; they focus on the most common formats. They differentiate between 1 standard formats, 2 advanced formats, 3 interactive formats, and 4 special formats. Examples of the different formats can be found in Table 2. Banners are the oldest and most common advertising format on the Internet; banners are graphics that are shown on Websites, separated from the actual content, which communicate the advertising message.
Pop-ups and interstitials , on the other hand, can be described as more disruptive, as they require the user to see and close the ad before the content of the Website can be viewed. Nano- and microsites enable the user to interact with the ad — this format is relatively new and growing in popularity.
With regard to the delivery mechanism, online advertising can be categorised as targeted or non-targeted advertising. There is debate among researchers and practitioners about the benefits and drawbacks of targeting Smalla, In the following chapter, some of those aspects will be discussed.
The number of advertisements and the magnitude of information that consumers see every day are immense; this flood may lead to information overload or advertising avoidance. Hermes found that most consumers try to avoid traditional, non-targeted advertisements. Seventy percent of respondents try to opt-out of such advertisement by switching TV channels. A similar development can be observed on the Internet: Adtech found that the average click-through-rates for banner ads decreased from 0. Some researchers believe that the habitualisation of Internet usage makes users focus on the content that is relevant to them while ignoring everything else Alby, Moreover, the experts believe that targeting will be one of the most important aspects of media planning in the forthcoming years InteractiveMedia, Targeting is supposed to increase the value of advertising for both users and advertisers: users see ads that are relevant to them, and advertisers achieve a better ROI Skibicki, ; Mughal, Because advertising is not free and consumers are heterogeneous in their responses to it, advertisers strive to focus their efforts on a subset of the great multitude of consumers, suggesting that an enhanced ability to target ads may be highly valuable.