How are Social Network Sites Embedded in the Web? An Exploratory Link Analysis by Mike Thelwall

Isidro F. Aguillo isidro at CINDOC.CSIC.ES
Mon Mar 17 12:45:53 EDT 2008

How are Social Network Sites Embedded in the Web? An Exploratory Link 
Mike Thelwall
Cybermetrics,  Vol.12 (2008): Issue 1. Paper 1

Social networking sites like MySpace represent a new and powerful 
communication technology, rivalling even
commercial search engines in terms of total visits. There is hence a 
need to understand how these sites
relate to the rest of the Web. For this study, links to the U.S. top 
twenty social network sites were gathered
from commercial search engines and investigated using an information 
science link analysis. Quantitative
methods were used to compare counts of links to the sites, associated 
top-level domains, and common
sources and types of links. The results showed that social network sites 
were embedded significantly
differently in the Web in terms of national and education-related 
profiles of links in the Web as well as the
total number of links. Although only 13% of links targeted useful 
information or discussion, this still
represents a large number of information-related links. Social networks 
also attracted marketing attention
from the entertainment industry, with links to fan sites and groups 
being common, and commercial links
representing about a third of all links. In conclusion, although often 
designed primarily for socialising, social
network sites are a complex and evolving phenomenon that support 
information provision to some extent,
and can support new forms of discussion, marketing and customer connections.

Isidro F. Aguillo
Laboratorio de Cibermetría
Cybermetrics Lab
Joaquin Costa, 22
28002 Madrid. Spain

isidro @
+34-91-5635482 ext 313

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list