A Theoretical Model for Understanding the Dynamics of Online Social Networks Decay

Mohammed Abufouda, Katharina A. Zweig

Online social networks represent a main source of communication and information exchange in today's life. They facilitate exquisitely news sharing, knowledge elicitation, and forming groups of same interests. Researchers in the last two decades studied the growth dynamics of the online social networks extensively questing a clear understanding of the behavior of humans in online social networks that helps in many directions, like engineering better recommendation systems and attracting new members. However, not all of social networks achieved the desired growth, for example, online social networks like MySpace, Orkut, and Friendster are out of service today. In this work, we present a probabilistic theoretical model that captures the dynamics of the social decay due to the inactivity of the members of a social network. The model is proved to have some interesting mathematical properties, namely \textit{submodularity}, which imply achieving the model optimization in a reasonable performance. That means the maximization problem can be approximated within a factor of $(1-1/e)$ and the minimization problem can be achieved in polynomial time.

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