Popularity, Traffic and Bacon

There were a few interesting points that came up in this week’s symposium:

1. A person’s perceived ‘dominance’ in real life does not necessarily mean that they are dominant on the internet. A lot of bloggers proclaim that they are introverts and thus use online mediums to express themselves in a less ‘social’ environment. On the web, your dominance is not measured by how outgoing or authoritative you are, but how good of a writer you are and how good you are at tapping into the interests of your audience. Ultimately online popularity is measured by how many readers you have and how many links there are to your page.

2. The idea of power law distribution in comparison to bell curve distribution was also explained in more detail than in the Barabasi excerpt. When thinking about the internet as a network (the interconnectedness of webpages), Elliot claimed that the more people link out to a certain webpage, the more traffic it will get and the more other people will link out to it as well. Thus, the rate at which the webpage’s traffic will grow is exponential.

3. The discussion then lapsed into the idea of ‘dense connectors’, the nodes that connect separate clusters (essentially) in networks. Dense connectors are those types of people who have lots of acquaintances everywhere, or if we’re talking about the internet – Google. One example that was used was ‘The Oracle of Kevin Bacon‘. Bacon is an actor who has starred in many films and can therefore be connected to any actor through other actors, often only by 2 or 3 ‘degrees of separation’. We also conducted a quick survey of everyone in the symposium: Adrian asked us if anyone knew anyone in Lithuania – Betty and many others raised there hands. Thus, it was ‘proved’ that generally we can be ‘connected’ to any random person in any country somehow because most people know someone who will know someone from that geographical area.



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