Update: Is bigger always better? How local online social networks can outperform global ones

A new version of our paper previously entitled “1:1000 scale model of the digital world” is available on the arxiv @ http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01368.

The new title is “Is bigger always better? How local online social networks can outperform global ones”, and the new version includes a comparison with empirical data.

Abstract: The overwhelming success of online social networks, the key actors in the cosmos of the Web 2.0, has reshaped human interactions on a worldwide scale. To help understand the fundamental mechanisms which determine the fate of online social networks at the system level, we describe the digital world as a complex ecosystem of interacting networks. In this paper, we discuss the impact of heterogeneity in network fitnesses induced by competition between an international network, such as Facebook, and local services.To this end, we construct a 1:1000 scale model of the digital world, consisting of the 80 countries with the most Internet users. We show how inter-country social ties induce increased fitness of the international network. Under certain conditions, this leads to the extinction of local networks; whereas under different conditions, local networks can persist and even dominate the international network completely. These findings provide new insights into the possibilities for preserving digital diversity.

Check out the slides of my talk about this work below or HERE.

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