Heterogeneity shapes groups growth in social online communities
IFISC Instituto de Física Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos (CSIC-UIB) - E-07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain, EU
Accepted: 28 November 2011
Many complex systems are characterized by broad distributions capturing, for example, the size of firms, the population of cities or the degree distribution of complex networks. Typically this feature is explained by means of a preferential growth mechanism. Although heterogeneity is expected to play a role in the evolution, it is usually not considered in the modeling probably due to a lack of empirical evidence on how it is distributed. We characterize the intrinsic heterogeneity of groups in an online community and then show that together with a simple linear growth and an inhomogeneous birth rate it explains the broad distribution of group members.
PACS: 89.20.-a – Interdisciplinary applications of physics / 89.20.Hh – World Wide Web, Internet / 89.75.Fb – Structures and organization in complex systems
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