A lot of community managers just go with their gut on this one, or use proxy metrics like signups, posts per day, klout scores, retweets or some other metric that is fairly hollow, but there are better ways.
Encouragement that the Wikipedia model—a model that relies on the collective wisdom of a large number of unpaid volunteers—could be viable was provided by the NASA ClickWorkers experiment, which ran from November 2000 to September 2001. In the experiment by NASA, unpaid volunteers visited NASA’s website to mark and classify craters and “honeycomb” terrain on Mars. (4) The study produced two surprising and interesting results. First, people are willing to engage in an unpaid, novel, and productive experience merely for the fun of it. Second, an amalgamation of data contributed by many unskilled volunteers can be virtually indistinguishable from the output of a trained worker. Thus, large groups of people are capable of producing high-quality work for free.
The principle that ‘popularity is attractive’ underlies preferential attachment, which is a common explanation for the emergence of scaling in growing networks. If new connections are made preferentially to more popular nodes, then the resulting distribution of the number of connections possessed by nodes follows power laws, as observed in many real networks. Preferential attachment has been directly validated for some real networks (including the Internet), and can be a consequence of different underlying processes based on node fitness, ranking, optimization, random walks or duplication. Here we show that popularity is just one dimension of attractiveness; another dimension is similarity. We develop a framework in which new connections optimize certain trade-offs between popularity and similarity, instead of simply preferring popular nodes.
Popularity versus similarity in growing networks
Fragkiskos Papadopoulos, Maksim Kitsak, M. Ángeles Serrano, Marián Boguñá & Dmitri Krioukov
Application of social network analysis to education has revealed how social network positions of K-12 students correlate with their behavior and academic achievements. However, no study has been conducted on how their social network influences their academic progress over time. Here we investigated correlations between high school students’ academic progress over one year and the social environment that surrounds them in their friendship network. We found that students whose friends’ average GPA (Grade Point Average) was greater (or less) than their own had a higher tendency toward increasing (or decreasing) their academic ranking over time, indicating social contagion of academic success taking place in their social network.
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The Finnish government has approved the technology behind a new 'Open Ministry' platform, which will act as a hub for citizens who want new laws voted on in the country's parliament. But could that work elsewhere?