Diversity in open social networks


Online communities have become become a crucial ingredient of e-business. Supporting open social networks builds strong brands and provides lasting value to the consumer. One function of the community is to recommend new products and services. Open social networks tend to be resilient, adaptive, and broad, but simplistic recommender systems can be 'gamed' by members seeking to promote certain products or services. We argue that the gaming is not the failure of the open social network, but rather of the function used by the recommender. To increase the quality and resilience of recommender systems, and provide the user with genuine and novel discoveries, we have to foster diversity, instead of closing down the social networks. Fortunately, software increases the broadcast capacity of each individual, making dense open social networks possible. Numerically, we show that dense social networks encourage diversity. In business terms, dense social networks support a long tail.


social networks; recommender systems; long tail


Daniel Lemire, Stephen Downes, S├ębastien Paquet, Diversity in open social networks, published online, October 2008.


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   author    = {Daniel Lemire and Stephen Downes and S\'ebastien Paquet},
   title     = {Diversity in open social networks},
   note = {Published online},
   year      = {2008}

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