Analysis of social interaction network properties and growth on Twitter

  • Arif Mohaimin SadriEmail author
  • Samiul Hasan
  • Satish V. Ukkusuri
  • Juan Esteban Suarez Lopez
Original Article


The complex topology of real networks allows its actors to change their functional behavior. Network models provide better understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms being accountable for the growth of such networks by capturing the dynamics in the ways network agents interact and change their behavior. Considerable amount of research efforts is required for developing novel network modeling techniques to understand the structural properties of such networks, reproducing similar properties based on empirical evidence, and designing such networks efficiently. In this study, we first demonstrate how to construct social interaction networks using social media data and then present the key findings obtained from the network analytics. We analyze the characteristics and growth of online social interaction networks, examine the network properties and derive important insights based on the theories of network science literature. We observed that the degree distributions of such networks follow power-law that is indicative of the existence of fewer nodes in the network with higher levels of interactions, and many other nodes with less interaction. While the network elements and average user degree grow linearly each day, densities of such networks tend to become zero. Largest connected components exhibit higher connectivity (density) when compared with the whole graph. Network radius and diameter become stable over time evidencing the small-world property. We also observe increased transitivity and higher stability of the power-law exponents as the networks grow. Since the data is specific to the Purdue University community, we also observe two very big events, namely Purdue Day of Giving and Senator Bernie Sanders’ visit to Purdue University as part of Indiana Primary Election 2016. The social interaction network properties that are revealed in this study can be useful in disseminating targeted information during planned special events.


Planned special events Social media Twitter User mention Social interaction Network science 



The authors are grateful to National Science Foundation for the Grant CMMI-1131503 and CMMI-1520338 to support the research presented in this paper. However, the authors are solely responsible for the findings presented in this study.

Author contributions

All the authors have contributed to the design of the study, conduct of the research, and writing the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arif Mohaimin Sadri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Samiul Hasan
    • 2
  • Satish V. Ukkusuri
    • 3
  • Juan Esteban Suarez Lopez
    • 4
  1. 1.Moss School of Construction, Infrastructure and SustainabilityFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction EngineeringUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  3. 3.Lyles School of Civil EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  4. 4.School of Civil EngineeringNational University of ColombiaMedellínColombia

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