World Wide Web

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 31–72 | Cite as

Social networks on the Internet

  • Katarzyna MusiałEmail author
  • Przemysław Kazienko
Open Access


The rapid development and expansion of the Internet and the social–based services comprised by the common Web 2.0 idea provokes the creation of the new area of research interests, i.e. social networks on the Internet called also virtual or online communities. Social networks can be either maintained and presented by social networking sites like MySpace, LinkedIn or indirectly extracted from the data about user interaction, activities or achievements such as emails, chats, blogs, homepages connected by hyperlinks, commented photos in multimedia sharing system, etc. A social network is the set of human beings or rather their digital representations that refer to the registered users who are linked by relationships extracted from the data about their activities, common communication or direct links gathered in the internet–based systems. Both digital representations named in the paper internet identities as well as their relationships can be characterized in many different ways. Such diversity yields for building a comprehensive and coherent view onto the concept of internet–based social networks. This survey provides in–depth analysis and classification of social networks existing on the Internet together with studies on selected examples of different virtual communities.


online social network taxonomy of social networks internet identity virtual identity internet relationship homogeneous social network system-based social network internet multisystem social network social networking site survey 


  1. 1.
    Adamic, L.A., Adar, E.: Friends and neighbors on the web. Soc. Network 25(3), 211–230 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Amaral, L.A.N., Scala, A., Barthelemy, M., Stanley, H.E.: Classes of small–world networks. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97, 11149–11152 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bao, S., Yang, B., Fei, B., Xu, S., Su, Z., Yu, Y.: Social propagation: boosting social annotations for web mining. World Wide Web 12(4), 399–420 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Barnes, J.A.: Class and committees in a Norwegian Island Parish. Hum. Relat. 7, 39–58 (1954)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Beyene, Y., Faloutsos, M., Chau, D.H., Faloutsos, C.: The eBay graph: How do online auction users interact? In proceedings of INFOCOM Workshops, IEEE Computer Society, 1–6 (2008)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Boyd, D.M.: Friendster and Publicly Articulated Social Networking, In Proceedings of CHI ’04: CHI ’04 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, pp. 1279–1282. ACM Press (2004)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Boyd, D.M., Ellison, N.B.: Social network sites: definition, history, and scholarship. J. Comput-Mediat Comm. 13(1), 210–230 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brickley, D. Miller, L.: FOAF Vocabulary Specification 0.91. Namespace Document 2 November 2007 - OpenID Edition (2007),, Accessed 10.11.2009
  9. 9.
    Carrington, P., Scott, J., Wasserman, S.: Models and Methods in Social Network Analysis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Castells, M.: Virtual Communities or Network Society? In The Internet galaxy: reflections on the Internet, business, and society, pp. 116–136. Oxford University Press (2001)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cattell, V.: Poor people, poor places, and poor health: the mediating role of social networks and social capital. Soc. Sci. Med. 52(10), 1501–1516 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Caverlee, J., Webb, S.: A Large-Scale Study of MySpace: Observations and Implications for Online Social Networks, In Proceedings of the 3rd International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, pp. 36–44. AAAI Press (2008)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chiu, P.Y., Cheung, C. M. K. Lee, M. K. O.: Online Social Networks: Why Do “We” Use Facebook?, In Proceedings of the First World Summit on the Knowledge Society, Communications in Computer and Information Science 19, Springer, 67–74, (2008)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Creese, J., Cribb, J., Spicer, J.: Social Networking: never mind the students, what about us? Use of Social Networking Softwares for professional networking and development for library staff, In Proceedings of Beyond The Hype 2008: Web 2.0 Symposium (2008),, Accessed 31 August 2009
  15. 15.
    Culotta, A., Bekkerman, R., McCallum, A.: Extracting social networks and contact information from email and the Web, In Proceedings of the First Conference on Email and Anti-Spam (2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Degenne, A., Forse, M.: Introducing Social Networks. SAGE Publications Ltd, London (1999)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Desautels, B.: Social networking: J Leader. Stud. 2(2), 103–104 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dimicco, J.M., Millen, D.R.: Identity Management: Multiple Presentations of Self in Facebook, In Proceedings of the 2007 International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work, pp. 383–386. ACM Press (2007)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dimicco, J., Millen, D.R., Geyer, W., Dugan, C., Brownholtz, B., Muller M.: Motivations for Social Networking at Work, In Proceedings of the Computer Supported Cooperative Work 2008 Conference, ACM Digital Library, pp. 711–720. (2008)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Donath, J.S.: Identity and deception in the virtual community, Chapter 2. In: Smith, M.A., Kollock, P. (eds.) Communities in Cyberspace, pp. 29–59. Routledge, London & New York (1999)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ducheneaut, N., Yee, N., Nickell, E., Moore, R.J.: “Alone together?”: exploring the social dynamics of massively multiplayer online games, In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, pp. 407–416. (2006)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Evans, B.M., Kairam, S., Pirolli, P.: Do your friends make you smarter?: an analysis of social strategies in online information seeking. Inform. Process. Manag. 46(6), 679–692 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Flake, G., Lawrence, S., Lee Giles, C.: Efficient identification of web communities, In Proceedings of the Sixth ACM Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, pp. 150–160. (2000)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Golbeck, J., Hendler, J.: FilmTrust: movie recommendations using trust in web-based social networks, In Proceedings of Consumer Communications and Networking Conference, IEEE Conference Proceedings 1, 282–286 (2006)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Golbeck, J.: Computing and Applying Trust in Web-Based Social Networks, Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of th Universtity of Maryland, College Park in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (2005)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Golbeck, J., Rothstein, M.: Linking Social Networks on the Web with FOAF: A Semantic Web Case Study, In Proceedings of the Twenty-Third AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, pp. 1138–1143. AAAI Press (2008)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gross, R., Acquisti, A.: Information revelation and privacy in online social networks, In Proceedings of 2005 ACM workshop on Privacy in the electronic society, pp. 71–80. ACM Press (2005)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Han, L., Cen, S., Ma, J., Ma, Y.: Identify intimate social relationship in blogsphere, lecture notes of the institute for computer sciences. Soc. Inform. Telecommun. Eng. 18, 14–25 (2009)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Harth, A.: SECO: mediation services for semantic web data, IEEE intelligent systems. Spec. Issue Semant Web Chall. 19(3), 66–71 (2004)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hill, R., Dunbar, R.: Social network size in humans. Hum. Nat. 14(1), 53–72 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Howard, B.: Analyzing online social networks. Commun. ACM 51(11), 14–16 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Huberman, B.A., Romero, D.M., Wu, F.: Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope. First Monday 14(1) (2009)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Jung, J.J., Juszczyszyn, K., Nguyen, N.T.: Centrality measurement on semantically multiplex social networks: divide-and-conquer approach. Int. J. Intell. Inform. Database Syst. 1(3/4), 277–292 (2007)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kazienko, P., Bródka, P., Musial, K., Gaworecki, J.: Multi-layered Social Network Creation Based on Bibliographic Data. SocialCom-10, The Second IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, SIN-10 Symposium on Social Intelligence and Networking, IEEE Computer Society Press, 407–412 (2010)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kazienko, P., Musiał, K., Kajdanowicz, T.: Multidimensional social network and its application to the social recommender system. IEEE Trans. Syst. Man Cybern. A Syst. Hum. 41(4), 746–759 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Kazienko, P., Musiał, K., Zgrzywa, A.: Evaluation of node position based on email communication. Contr. Cybern. 38(1), 67–86 (2009)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kazienko, P.: Expansion of Telecommunication Social Networks, In Proceedings of the fourth International Conference on Cooperative Design, Visualization and Engineering, Springer Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 4674, 404–412 (2007)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kennedy, H.: Beyond anonymity, or future directions for internet identity research. New Media Soc. 8(6), 859–876 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Kim, W., Jeong, O.-R., Lee, S.-W.: On social web sites. Inform. Syst. 35(2), 215–236 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    King, I.: Introduction to social computing, database systems for advanced applications. Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 5982, 482–484 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Kinsella, S., Breslin, J.G., Passant, A., Decker, S.: Applications of Semantic Web Methodologies and Techniques to Social Networks and Social Websites, Reasoning Web, In Proceedings of the 4th International Summer School 2008, Tutorial Lectures, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 5224, Springer, 171–199 (2008)Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Klamma, R.: Wikis as Social Networks: Evolution and Dynamics, In The 2nd SNA-KDD Workshop on Social Network Mining and Analysis, ACM (2008)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Krishnamurthy, B., Wills, C.E.: On the leakage of personally identifiable information via online social networks. ACM SIGCOMM Comput. Comm. Rev. 40(1), 112–117 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Kukla, G., Kazienko, P., Bródka, P., Filipowski, T.: Recommendation Boosted Query Propagation in the Social Network, In Proceedings of The Second International Conference on Social Informatics, SocInfo’2010, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 6430, Springer, 113–124 (2010)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Kumar, R., Novak, J., Raghavan, P., Tomkins, A.: On the bursty evolution of blogspace. World Wide Web 8(2), 159–178 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Kwak, H., Lee, C., Park, H., Moon, S.B.: What is Twitter, a social network or a news media? in Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2010, ACM, 591–600 (2010)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Lazega, E.: The Collegial Phenomenon. The Social Mechanism Of Co–Operation Among Peers In A Corporate Law Partnership. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2001)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Lazer, D., Pentland, A., Adamic, L., Aral, S., Barabasi, A.L., Brewer, D., Christakis, N., Contractor, N., Fowler, J., Gutmann, M., Jebara, T., King, G., Macy, M., Roy, D., Van Alstyne, M.: Life in the network: the coming age of computational social science. Science 323(5915), 721–723 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Leskovec, J., Backstrom, L., Kumar, R., Tomkins, A.: Microscopic evolution of social networks, In Proceedings of the 14th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, ACM, 462–470 (2008)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Lin, C.-L., Tang, H.-L., Kao, H.-Y.: Utilizing social relationships for blog popularity mining. Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 5839, 409–419 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Marx, K.: Selected Writings in Sociology & Social Philosophy, tr. T.B. Bottomore, New York, McGraw–Hill ([1857] 1956)Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Milgram, S.: The small-world problem. Psychol. Today 2, 60–67 (1967)Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Millen, D., Feinberg, J., Kerr, B.: Social bookmarking in the enterprise, ACM Press, Queue 3, 9, 28–35 (2005)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Mizzaro, S., Vassena, L.: A social approach to context-aware retrieval. World Wide Web 14(4), 377–405 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Montgomery, J.: Social networks and labor-market outcomes: toward an economic analysis. Am. Econ. Rev. 81(5), 1407–1418 (1991)Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Morris, M.: Sexual network and HIV. AIDS 11, 209–216 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Narayanan, A., Shmatikov, V.: De-anonymizing Social Networks, In proceedings of the 30th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, IEEE Computer Society, 173–187 (2009)Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Newman, M.E.J.: The structure of scientific collaboration networks, In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 98, 404–409 (2001)Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    O’Murchu, I., Breslin, J.G., Decker, S.: Online Social and Business Networking Communities, In Proceedings of the Workshop on Application of Semantic Web Technologies to Web Communities 2004, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, (2004), 107,, Accessed 10 November 2009
  60. 60.
    Pagel, M., Erdly, W., Becker, J.: Social networks: we get by with (and in spite of) a little help from our friends. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 53(4), 793–804 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Parameswaran, M., Whinston, A.B.: Research issues in social computing. J. Assoc. Inform. Syst. 8(6), 336–350 (2007)Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Rak, J.: The digital queer: weblogs and internet identity. Biography 28(1), 166–182 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Recordon, D., Reed, D.: OpenID 2.0: a platform for user-centric identity management, In Proceedings of the 2006 Workshop on Digital Identity Management, ACM, 11–16 (2006)Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Robins, G.L., Alexander, M.: Small Worlds Among Interlocking Directors: Network Structure and Distance in Bipartite Graphs, Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory 10, 1, Kluwer Academic Publisher, 69–94 (2004)Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Scott, G., Huberman, B.A.: Usage Patterns of Collaborative Tagging Systems, Journal of Information Science 32, 2, 198–208 (2006),, Accessed 10 November 2009Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Swamynathan, G., Wilson, C., Boe, B., Almeroth, K., Zhao, B.Y.: Do social networks improve e-commerce?: a study on social marketplaces, In Proceedings of the First Workshop on Online Social Networks, ACM, 1–6 (2008)Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Travers, J., Milgram, S.: An experimental study of the small world problem. Sociometry 32(4), 425–443 (1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Trusov, M., Bodapati, A.V., Bucklin, R.E.: Determining influential users in internet social networks. J. Market. Res. 47(4), 643–658 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Walker, K.: It’s difficult to hide it: the presentation of self on internet home pages. Qual. Sociol. 23(1), 99–120 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Wang, F.Y., Carley, K.M., Zeng, D., Mao, W.: Social computing: from social informatics to social intelligence. IEEE Intell. Syst. 22(2), 79–83 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Wang, J.C., Chiu, C.C.: Recommending trusted online auction sellers using social network analysis. Expert Syst. Appl. 34(3), 1666–1679 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Wasserman, S., Faust, K.: Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. Cambridge University Press, New York (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Wellman, B., Salaff, J., Dimitrova, D., Garton, L., Gulia, M., Haythornthwaite, C.: Computer networks as social networks: collaborative work, telework, and virtual community. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 22(1), 213–238 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Wood, A.F., Smith, M.J.: Online Communication: Linking Technology, Identity & Culture, Secondth edn. Routledge, New York (2004)Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Yang, W.S., Dia, J.B., Cheng, H.CH., Lin, H.T.: Mining Social Networks for Targeted Advertising, In Proceedings of the 39th Hawaii International International Conference on Systems Science, 6, IEEE Computer Society, 137a (2006)Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Yeung, C.-m.A., Liccardi, I., Lu, K., Seneviratne O., Berners-Lee T.: Decentralization: The Future of Online Social Networking, In Proceedings of W3C Workshop on the Future of Social Networking, (2009)

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Natural and Mathematical SciencesKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of InformaticsWrocław University of TechnologyWroclawPoland

Personalised recommendations