University of Oulu

Software architectures for social influence : analysis of Facebook, Twitter, Yammer and FourSquare

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Author: Oduor, Michael1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Pages: 61
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Oduor, 2013
Publish Date: 2013-04-25
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri
Reviewer: Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri
Stibe, Agnis
Social media systems like Facebook and Twitter have experienced exponential growth in their user base as they fulfill basic human desires of communication, sharing of opinions, thoughts and intentions. Plus they also act as source of news and a place to network and meet interesting people who would otherwise be unreachable. Social media systems have thus become important tools for dissemination of information and addressing peoples’ information needs and as they are user driven and interactions are mainly over user-generated content, they provide useful features for supporting conversations which are the essence of such systems. This research is a conceptual analysis of how social media systems have been modeled to influence. The aim is to discern how the design choices made during development have enabled the growth of such systems and their prevalent influence on user interactions. The theoretical basis of the research is a persuasive context which describes how interactive computing systems have an impact on users’ thoughts and consequently lead to a change in their behavior. The study focuses on the architectures of Facebook, Twitter, Yammer and Foursquare to date among the most common social media systems serving different user needs while essentially encouraging conversations in a collaborative environment. The architectures of these systems mainly developed using open source software have undergone numerous changes in order to be able handle enormous amounts of user-generated data in real time and at the same time also be secure and respond to the user’s needs. Taking these factors into consideration, this research through review of literature, provides further insights into the use of social media systems and how their inherent design choices provide a platform to influence both user actions and interactions by: (i) contrasting between various social media systems, (ii) detailing the features that facilitate influence, (iii) analyzing the architectures of four social media systems, and (iv) analyzing the persuasion context and the resultant effects. The research is limited by the choice of the four systems for analysis and its conceptual nature which could not provide adequate opportunities for discerning key contextual issues like location, category and knowledge of users and so forth. This could be extended by empirical studies that are longitudinal in nature and use of data mining and/or social network analysis to discern the relationships and discussions with the respective systems.
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