Social bookmarking patterns adhere to a “power law”

Their model exemplifies two primary aspects of user behavior: preferential attachment and aging of resources. Preferential attachment can also be described as a copying attitude. Cattuto, who performed the research with Vittorio Loreto and Luciano Pietronero, offers the example of linking to a photo or article about New York City. The person posting the link can tag the item in several ways, a few of which are “nyc,” “newyork_city,” or newyork. The choices of previous del.icio.us users, however, are likely to influence the next group of users. “There is pressure, in essence,” Cattuto explains, “because if you use tags that are already widespread within the system, people are able to find your entries—so, using popular tags makes your content findable and makes you more visible.”


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from Scientific American

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