Multiple Relationship Types in Online Communities and Social Networks
Online social networking is increasingly popular and is a feature of many websites. Providing multiple types of relationship, such as friend, fan or colleague, can enhance the significance of the networks. The paper presents an empirical study of an online political forum where users engage in content creation, voting, and discussion. The users also make explicit connections via three relationship types, forming three distinct networks. The paper establishes a strong correlation between network participation and site activity and show that users stayed faithful to the relationship semantics, in aggregate. Moreover, the paper demonstrates significant structural differences among the networks, indicating different uses for each.