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Social Media Types: introducing a data driven taxonomy

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Abstract

Social Media (SM) have been established as multifunctional networking tools that tend to offer an increasingly wider variety of services, making it difficult to determine their core purpose and mission, therefore, their type. This paper assesses this evolution of Social Media Types (SMTs), presents, and evaluates a novel hypothesis-based data driven methodology for analyzing Social Media Platforms (SMPs) and categorizing SMTs. We review and update literature regarding the categorization of SMPs, based on their services. We develop a methodology to propose and evaluate a new taxonomy, comprising: (i) the hypothesis that the number of SMTs is smaller than what current literature suggests, (ii) observations on data regarding SM usage and (iii) experimentation using association rules and clustering algorithms. As a result, we propose three (3) SMTs, namely Social, Entertainment and Profiling networks, typically capturing emerging SMP services. Our results show that our hypothesis is validated by implementing our methodology and we discuss threats to validity.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    RapidMiner is a software suite that provides an integrated environment for data preparation, machine learning [15], deep learning, text mining [16], and predictive analytics. It supports all steps of the data mining process including data preparation, results visualization, model validation and optimization [17].

Abbreviations

SM:

Social Media

SMT:

Social Media Type

SMP:

Social Media Platform

SN:

Social Networks

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Author information

Correspondence to Christos Tjortjis.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Appendices

Appendix A: The complete set of 112 SM sites

SM sites
Facebook Gab Cross.tv Plurk
YouTube Telegram Flixster LiveJournal
Instagram Tagged Gaia Online Weibo
Twitter Myspace BlackPlanet Qzone
Reddit Badoo MyMFB QQ
Vine Stumbleupon Care2 Baidu
Pinterest Foursquare CaringBridge Line
Ask.fm MeetMe GoFundMe YY
Tumblr Skyrock A192 Tinder Sprybirds
Flickr Pinboard Crokes Xing
Google+ Kiwibox Goodreads VampireFreaks
LinkedIn Twoo Internations CafeMom
VK Yelp PlentyofFish Ravelry
ClassMates Snapfish Minds ASmallWorld
Meetup Photobucket Nexopia ReverbNation
WhatsApp Shutterfly Glocals SoundCloud
Messenger 500px Academia.edu Solaborate
Snapchat DeviantArt Busuu eToro
Quora Dronestagram English, baby! Xanga
GirlsAskGuys Fotki Italki.com Ryze
Nextdoor Fotolog Untappd Zynga
ProductHunt Imgur Doximity Habbo
AngelList Pixabay Wayn FunnyOrDie
Kickstarter WeHeartIt CouchSurfing Tout
WeChat 43Things TravBuddy Classmates
Skype Path Tournac MyHeritage
Viber Uplike Cellufun MocoSpace
Viadeo Last.fm 23andMe Ancestry.com

Appendix B: Mapping official features to utilities

Utility Official features
Connecting
(Count = 52)
Fans, Groups, Live Chat, Pokes, Gifts, Messaging, Explore, Instagram Direct, Direct Messaging, Discussion Website, Exploring, Profiles, Messaging to Blogs, Accounts, User Profiles, Circles, Communities, Collections, Emails, User Profile Network, Influencers, Synchronization with Other Social Networks, SMS Service, Members, Neighbors, Chatting, Drafts, Secret chats, Voice Calls, Bands, Dating, Mothers, Weaving, Christian, Talent, Muslims, Activists, Political, Authors, Expats, Follow, Teenagers, Celebrities, Relatives, User Groups, Messages, Group and Voice Chat, Video conferences, Conversations, Chat features
Multimedia
(Count = 29)
Photos, Videos, Text, Upload and download options for Photos, Playback Upload Quality and formats, Live Streaming, 3D Videos, 360o Videos, Images, Live Videos, Photographic Filters, Record Short Video Clips, Ability To “Revine” Videos on A Personal Stream, Stream, Photography, Voice, Image Filters, Short videos, Gab, Cloud-Based Messages, Audio, Files, Musicians, Crocheting, Photoblog, VideoBlog, AudioBlog, Pictures
Professional
(Count = 36)
Monetization, Licensing, Job Listings, Online Recruiting, For-Pay Research, Snapcash, Products, Startups, Investors, Funding, Channels, Enterprises, Purchases, Home Services, Drones, Knitting, Environmental, Treatments, Medical, Illness, Funding, Rewards, Academics, Papers, Teaching, Language, Health, Business, Promoting, Companies, Technology, Trading, Stock offering, Virtual Currency, Video Streaming for money, Video tutorials for money
Sharing
(Count = 23)
Post Text, Instagram Stories, Tweet, Retweet, Links, Hashtags, Sharing Content, Protected Posts, Pins, Boards, Send Questions, Queue, Tags, Questions, What’s Hot, Post to And Read Community Boards, Post, Content Discovery, Location, Inspiration, Spinning, Sharing, Posting, Quoting
Entertainment
(Count = 17)
Games, Shopping, Gaming, Art, Music, Culture, Travel, Luxury, Movies, Animes, Books, Comedy, Online Social Gaming, Gamers, Concerts, Fashion, Sports
Opinions
(Count = 15)
Polls, Answers, Suggest Edits, Feeds, Recommendations, Reviews, Advice, Recommendation, Discussions, Forums, Opinions, Reviews, Discussion forums,
Profile
(Count = 13)
Wall, Calendar, Embedded in Profile, Skills, Memories, Bookmarking, Goals, Career, Records, Professional Profiles, Profile, Journals, Diaries
Publishing
(Count = 11)
Dashboard (Blog Posts), Google+ Page, Locations, Google Local, Publishing Platform, Blog, Blogging, Weblog, Pulse, Blogs, Microblogging
Applications
(Count = 15)
Apps, Stand-alone Apps, Third-party Services, HTML editing, Interaction and compatibility, Filtering, Additional features, Deprecated Features, Applications, External, Third Party Applications, Mobile, SMS, Bots, third party development
Schedule
(Count = 8)
Organization,
View Information About Upcoming Reunions, Organize Meetups, Events, Activities, Planning, Event, Event coordination
Privacy
(Count = 6)
Classified section, Access control, Identity Service, Privacy, Security and Technology, Enhanced Privacy
Voting
(Count = 7)
Likes, Web Content Rating, Voting, +1 Button, Like Buttons, Upvote/Downvote, Stickers
News
(Count = 7)
News Feed, Status, Follow People and Trending Topics, Social News Aggregation, Following, News, Tech News
Promoting
(Count = 4)
Fan Pages, Links, Advertising, Ad-Free

Appendix C: Utility occurrences on the SM dataset

No. SM sites Connecting Multimedia Professional Sharing Entertainment Opinions Profile Publishing Applications Schedule Privacy Voting News Promoting
1 Facebook 7 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2
2 YouTube 6 1
3 Instagram 2 3 1 1 2
4 Twitter 1 2 4 1
5 Reddit 1 1 3 2 1
6 Vine 2 1
7 Pinterest 1 2 2 1  
8 Ask.fm 1 1 1
9 Tumblr 1 4 2 1  
10 Flickr 1 2 1 2 1 1
11 Google+ 5 2 1 1 3 2 2 1
12 LinkedIn 3 3 2 1 4 1 1
13 VK 4 1 1 1
14 ClassMates 2 1 1 1
15 Meetup 2 1
16 WhatsApp 1 3
17 Messenger 1 3
18 Snapchat 3 1 1
19 Quora 3 1 1
20 GirlsAskGuys 1 2 3
21 Nextdoor 1 2
22 ProductHunt 1 1
23 AngelList 2
24 Kickstarter 2
25 WeChat 2 1
26 Skype 1 3
27 Viber 1 3
28 Viadeo 3
29 Gab 1 1 1
30 Telegram 4 1 1 1 2 1 1
31 Tagged 1  
32 Myspace 1 1
33 Badoo 1
34 Stumbleupon 1
35 Foursquare 2 1   1
36 MeetMe 1
37 Skyrock A192 1
38 Pinboard 1 1
39 Kiwibox 1 1 1
40 Twoo 1 1
41 Yelp 1 1 2 1
42 Snapfish 1
43 Photobucket 2
44 Shutterfly 1
45 500px 1
46 DeviantArt 1 1
47 Dronestagram 1 1
48 Fotki 1
49 Fotolog 1 1
50 Imgur 1 1
51 Pixabay 2
52 WeHeartIt 1
53 43Things 1 1 1
54 Path 1 1 1
55 Uplike 1 1
56 Last.fm 1 1
57 Cross.tv 1
58 Flixster 1
59 Gaia Online 1
60 BlackPlanet 3 1
61 MyMFB 1
62 Care2 2 1
63 CaringBridge 3
64 GoFundMe 1
65 Tinder 1 1   
66 Crokes 2
67 Goodreads 1 1
68 Internations 1
69 PlentyofFish 1
70 Minds 2 1
71 Nexopia 2
72 Glocals 1 2
73 Academia.edu 1 2
74 Busuu 2
75 English, baby! 2
76 Italki.com 2
77 Untappd 1 2
78 Doximity 1
79 Wayn 1
80 CouchSurfing 1 1
81 TravBuddy 1
82 Tournac 1 1
83 Cellufun   1
84 23andMe 2 1
85 Plurk 1 1 1
86 LiveJournal 2 1
87 Weibo 2 1
88 Qzone 3 1 1
89 QQ 2 1 1 2 1
90 Baidu 2 3 1
91 Line 3 4
92 YY 1 3 4
93 Sprybirds 1
94 Xing 1 1 1 1
95 VampireFreaks 1 1
96 CafeMom 1
97 Ravelry 1 1 1 1
98 ASmallWorld 1 2
99 ReverbNation 1 1
100 SoundCloud 1 1
101 Solaborate 1 3 2 1 1 1
102 eToro 1 2
103 Xanga 1 3 1 2 1
104 Ryze 1
105 Zynga 1
106 Habbo 1 1
107 FunnyOrDie 1 1 1
108 Tout 1
109 Classmates 2 1
110 MyHeritage 1 1
111 MocoSpace 1
112 Ancestry.com 2

Appendix D: SMPs’ primary, secondary, trivia utilities

SM sites Primary Secondary Trivia
Facebook Connecting (7) Multimedia (4) Entertainment (1), Opinions (1), Profile (1), Applications (1), Privacy (1), Voting (1), News (2), Promoting (2)
YouTube Multimedia (6) Sharing (1)
Instagram Multimedia (3) Connecting (2) Professional (1), Sharing (1), Applications (2)
Twitter Sharing (4) Multimedia (2) Connecting (1), News (1)
Reddit Sharing (3) Voting (2) Connecting (1), Multimedia (1), News (1)
Vine Multimedia (2) Sharing (1)
Pinterest Multimedia (2), Sharing (2) Connecting (1), News (1)
Ask.fm Sharing (1), Connecting (1), Promoting (1)
Tumblr Sharing (4) Publishing (2) Connecting (1), Applications (1)
Flickr Multimedia (2), Applications (2) Connecting (1), Professional (1), Schedule (1), Privacy (1)
Google+ Connecting (5) Publishing (3) Multimedia (2), Sharing (1), Profile (1), Applications (2), Privacy (2), Voting (1)
LinkedIn Applications (4) Connecting (3), Professional (3) Profile (2), Publishing (1), Privacy (1)
VK Connecting (4) Privacy (1), Voting (1), News (1)
ClassMates Connecting (2) Sharing (1), Schedule (1), Privacy (1)
Meetup Connecting (2) Schedule (1)
WhatsApp Multimedia (3) Connecting (1)
Messenger Multimedia (3) Connecting (1)
Snapchat Multimedia (3) Professional (1), Profile (1)
Quora Opinions (3) Profile (1), Voting (1)
GirlsAskGuys Opinions (3) Sharing (2) Multimedia (1)
Nextdoor Schedule (2) Connecting (1)
ProductHunt Professional (1), Voting (1)
AngelList Professional (2)
Kickstarter Professional (2)
WeChat Connecting (2) Entertainment (1)
Skype Multimedia (3) Connecting (1)
Viber Multimedia (3) Connecting (1)
Viadeo Professional (3)
Gab Connecting (1), Multimedia (1), Promoting (1)
Telegram Connecting (4) Applications (2) Multimedia (1), Professional (1), Profile (1), Privacy (1), Voting (1)
Tagged Connecting (1)
Myspace Connecting (1), Multimedia (1)
Badoo Connecting (1)
Stumbleupon Sharing (1)
Foursquare Professional (2) Sharing (1), Opinions (1)
MeetMe Connecting (1)
Skyrock A192 Publishing (1)  
Pinboard Profile (1), Promoting (1)
Kiwibox Multimedia (1), Entertainment (1), Publishing (1)
Twoo Connecting (1), Multimedia (1)
Yelp Opinions (2) Multimedia (1), Professional (1), Schedule (1)
Snapfish Multimedia (1)
Photobucket Multimedia (2)
Shutterfly Multimedia (1)
500px Multimedia (1)
DeviantArt Multimedia (1), Entertainment (1)
Dronestagram Multimedia (1), Professional (1)
Fotki Multimedia (1)
Fotolog Multimedia (1), Publishing (1)
Imgur Multimedia (1), Voting (1)
Pixabay Multimedia (2)
WeHeartIt Multimedia (1)
43Things Sharing (1), Opinions (1), Profiling (1)
Path Connecting (1), Multimedia (1), Privacy (1)
Uplike Multimedia (1), Sharing (1)
Last.fm Entertainment (1), Opinions (1)
Cross.tv Connecting (1)
Flixster Entertainment (1)
Gaia Online Entertainment (1)
BlackPlanet Connecting (3) Publishing (1)
MyMFB Connecting (1)
Care2 Connecting (2) Professional (1)
CaringBridge Professional (3)
GoFundMe Professional (1)
Tinder Connecting (1), Sharing (1)
Crokes Connecting (2)
Goodreads Entertainment (1), Opinions (1)
Internations Connecting (1)
PlentyofFish Connecting (1)
Minds Professional (2) Privacy (1)
Nexopia Opinions (2)
Glocals Schedule (2) Connecting (1)
Academia.edu Professional (2) Connecting (1)
Busuu Professional (2)
English, baby! Professional (2)
Italki.com Professional (2)
Untappd Opinions (2) Multimedia (1)
Doximity Professional (1)
Wayn Entertainment (1)
CouchSurfing Entertainment (1), Schedule (1)
TravBuddy Entertainment (1)
Tournac Sharing (1), Entertainment (1)
Cellufun Entertainment (1)
23andMe Connecting (2) Professional (1)
Plurk Connecting (1), Sharing (1), Publishing (1)
LiveJournal Profile (2) Publishing (1)
Weibo Sharing (2) Publishing (1)
Qzone Multimedia (3) Profile (1), Publishing (1)
QQ Connecting (2), Entertainment (2) Multimedia (1), Professional (1), Publishing (1)
Baidu Sharing (3) Multimedia (2) Opinions (1)
Line Multimedia (4) Connecting (3)
YY Entertainment (4) Professional (3) Connecting (1)
Sprybirds Professional (1)
Xing Professional (1), Opinions (1), Profile (1), Schedule (1)
VampireFreaks Connecting (1), Entertainment (1)
CafeMom Connecting (1)
Ravelry Connecting (1), Multimedia (1), Professional (1), Sharing (1)
ASmallWorld Entertainment (2) Connecting (1)
ReverbNation Entertainment (1), Profile (1)
SoundCloud Sharing (1), Entertainment (1)
Solaborate Professional (3) Opinions (2) Connecting (1), Profile (1), Schedule (1), News (1)
eToro Professional (2) Connecting (1)
Xanga Multimedia (3) Publishing (2) Connecting (1), Profile (1), Privacy (1)
Ryze Professional (1)
Zynga Entertainment (1)
Habbo Connecting (1), Entertainment (1)
FunnyOrDie Connecting (1), Multimedia (1), Entertainment (1)
Tout Professional (1)
Classmates Connecting (2) Schedule (1)
MyHeritage Multimedia (1), Profile (1)
MocoSpace Entertainment (1)
Ancestry.com Connecting (2)

Appendix E: Frequent itemsets (FP-growth)

Size Support Item 1 Item 2 Item 3
1 0.473 Connecting
1 0.384 Multimedia
1 0.277 Professional
1 0.205 Entertainment
1 0.196 Sharing
1 0.134 Profile
1 0.116 Opinions
1 0.116 Publishing
1 0.089 Privacy
1 0.089 Schedule
1 0.071 Voting
1 0.062 Applications
1 0.054 News
1 0.045 Promoting
2 0.188 Connecting Multimedia
2 0.107 Connecting Professional
2 0.071 Connecting Entertainment
2 0.098 Connecting Sharing
2 0.054 Connecting Profile
2 0.062 Connecting Publishing
2 0.080 Connecting Privacy
2 0.062 Connecting Schedule
2 0.045 Connecting Voting
2 0.062 Connecting Applications
2 0.054 Connecting News
2 0.036 Connecting Promoting
2 0.071 Multimedia Professional
2 0.045 Multimedia Entertainment
2 0.098 Multimedia Sharing
2 0.062 Multimedia Profile
2 0.045 Multimedia Opinions
2 0.054 Multimedia Publishing
2 0.054 Multimedia Privacy
2 0.045 Multimedia Voting
2 0.045 Multimedia Applications
2 0.036 Multimedia News
2 0.027 Professional Sharing
2 0.045 Professional Profile
2 0.036 Professional Opinions
2 0.036 Professional Privacy
2 0.036 Professional Schedule
2 0.036 Professional Applications
2 0.027 Entertainment Opinions
2 0.036 Sharing Opinions
2 0.036 Sharing Publishing
2 0.027 Sharing Applications
2 0.027 Sharing News
2 0.045 Profile Opinions
2 0.045 Profile Publishing
2 0.045 Profile Privacy
2 0.036 Profile Voting
2 0.036 Profile Applications
2 0.027 Profile Promoting
2 0.027 Opinions Schedule
2 0.027 Publishing Privacy
2 0.027 Publishing Applications
2 0.036 Privacy Voting
2 0.045 Privacy Applications
2 0.027 Voting Applications  
2 0.027 Voting News
3 0.045 Connecting Multimedia Professional
3 0.027 Connecting Multimedia Entertainment
3 0.054 Connecting Multimedia Sharing
3 0.036 Connecting Multimedia Profile
3 0.027 Connecting Multimedia Publishing
3 0.054 Connecting Multimedia Privacy
3 0.036 Connecting Multimedia Voting
3 0.045 Connecting Multimedia Applications
3 0.036 Connecting Multimedia News
3 0.027 Connecting Professional Profile
3 0.027 Connecting Professional Privacy
3 0.036 Connecting Professional Applications
3 0.027 Connecting Sharing Publishing
3 0.027 Connecting Sharing Applications
3 0.027 Connecting Sharing News
3 0.027 Connecting Profile Publishing
3 0.045 Connecting Profile Privacy
3 0.027 Connecting Profile Voting
3 0.036 Connecting Profile Applications
3 0.027 Connecting Publishing Privacy
3 0.027 Connecting Publishing Applications
3 0.036 Connecting Privacy Voting
3 0.045 Connecting Privacy Applications
3 0.027 Connecting Voting Applications
3 0.027 Connecting Voting News
3 0.027 Multimedia Professional Applications
3 0.027 Multimedia Sharing News
3 0.027 Multimedia Profile Publishing
3 0.036 Multimedia Profile Privacy
3 0.027 Multimedia Profile Voting
3 0.027 Multimedia Profile Applications
3 0.027 Multimedia Privacy Voting
3 0.036 Multimedia Privacy Applications
3 0.027 Multimedia Voting Applications
3 0.027 Professional Opinions Schedule
3 0.027 Professional Privacy Applications
3 0.027 Profile Publishing Privacy
3 0.027 Profile Privacy Voting
3 0.036 Profile Privacy Applications
3 0.027 Profile Voting Applications
3 0.027 Privacy Voting Applications

Appendix F: Results from clustering with DBSCAN and k-Medoids

id Cluster0 id Cluster1 id Cluster2 id Cluster3
DBSCAN
1 Facebook 2 YouTube 16 WhatsApp 25 WeChat
3 Instagram 6 Vine 17 Messenger 46 DevianArt
4 Twitter 34 Stumbleupon 23 AngelList 58 Flixster
5 Reddit 55 Uplike 24 Kickstarter 59 Gaia Online
7 Pinterest 65 Tinder 26 Skype 79 Wayn
8 Ask.fm 97 Ravelry 27 Viber 81 TravBuddy
9 Tumblr 28 Viadeo 83 Cellufun
10 Flickr 31 Tagged 92 YY
11 Google+ 32 Myspace 95 VampireFreaks
12 LinkedIn 33 Badoo 98 ASmallWorld
13 VK 36 MeetMe 105 Zynga
14 ClassMates 40 Twoo 106 Habbo
15 Meetup 42 Snapfish 107 FunnyOrDie
18 Snapchat 43 Photobucket 111 MocoSpace
19 Quora 44 Shutterfly
20 GirlsAskGuys 45 500px
21 Nextdoor 47 Dronestagram
22 ProductHunt 48 Fotki
29 Gab 51 Pixabay
30 Telegram 52 WeHeartIt
35 Foursquare 57 Cross.tv
37 Skyrock A192 61 MyMFB
38 Pinboard 62 Care2
39 Kiwibox 63 CaringBridge
41 Yelp 64 GoFundMe
49 Fotolog 66 Crokes
50 Imgur 68 Internations
53 43Things 69 PlentyofFish
54 Path 73 Academia.edu
56 Last.fm 74 Busuu
60 BlackPlanet 75 English, baby!
67 Goodreads 76 Italki.com
70 Minds 78 Doximity
71 Nexopia 84 23andMe
72 Glocals 91 Line
77 Untappd 93 Sprybirds
80 CouchSurfing 96 CafeMom
82 Tournac 102 eToro
85 Plurk 104 Ryze
86 LiveJournal 108 Tout
87 Weibo 112 Ancestry.com
88 Qzone
89 QQ
90 Baidu
94 Xing
99 ReverbNation
100 SoundCloud
101 Solaborate
103 Xanga
109 Classmates
110 MyHeritage
k-Medoids (k = 4)
1 Facebook 2 YouTube 10 Flickr 12 LinkedIn
25 WeChat 3 Instagram 13 VK 18 Snapchat
39 Kiwibox 4 Twitter 15 Meetup 19 Quora
46 DevianArt 5 Reddit 16 WhatsApp 30 Telegram
56 Last.fm 6 Vine 17 Messenger 38 Pinboard
58 Flixster 7 Pinterest 21 Nextdoor 86 LiveJournal
59 Gaia Online 8 Ask.fm 22 ProductHunt 88 Qzone
67 Goodreads 9 Tumblr 23 AngelList 94 Xing
79 Wayn 11 Google+ 24 Kickstarter 101 Solaborate
80 CouchSurfing 14 ClassMates 26 Skype 103 Xanga
81 TravBuddy 20 GirlsAskGuys 27 Viber 110 MyHeritage
82 Tournac 34 Stumbleupon 28 Viadeo
83 Cellufun 35 Foursquare 29 Gab
89 QQ 53 43Things 31 Tagged
92 YY 55 Uplike 32 Myspace
95 VampireFreaks 65 Tinder 33 Badoo
98 ASmallWorld 85 Plurk 36 MeetMe
99 ReverbNation 87 Weibo 37 Skyrock A192
100 SoundCloud 90 Baidu 40 Twoo
105 Zynga 97 Ravelry 41 Yelp
106 Habbo 42 Snapfish
107 FunnyOrDie 43 Photobucket
111 MocoSpace 44 Shutterfly
45 500px
47 Dronestagram
48 Fotki
49 Fotolog
50 Imgur
51 Pixabay
52 WeHeartIt
54 Path
57 Cross.tv
60 BlackPlanet
61 MyMFB
62 Care2
63 CaringBridge
64 GoFundMe
66 Crokes
68 Internations
69 PlentyofFish
70 Minds
71 Nexopia
72 Glocals
73 Academia.edu
74 Bussu
75 English, baby!
76 Italki.com
77 Untappd
78 Doximity
84 23andMe
91 Line
93 Sprybirds
96 CafeMom
102 eToro
104 Ryze
108 Tout
109 Classmates
112 Ancestry.com

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Koukaras, P., Tjortjis, C. & Rousidis, D. Social Media Types: introducing a data driven taxonomy. Computing 102, 295–340 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00607-019-00739-y

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Keywords

  • Social Media
  • Social Media Types
  • Social Media Sites
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Social networking
  • Data mining
  • Clustering
  • Association rules

Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 68U35