A shift of paradigm is running over online social platforms: the over-centralization of these platforms is leaving room for decentralized solutions based on blockchain technologies, such as blockchain-based online social networks-BOSNs. Among the many unknown aspects of these techno-social systems, the objective of this study is to propose an analytical framework to assess the impact of the cryptocurrencies linked to a BOSN platform on the evolution of its social network and on the behavior of their users, in terms of production of content and/or its promotion through a voting and rewarding system. The framework has been applied to Steemit, one of the most widespread BOSNs, from which we collected three-year-long high-resolution data on its evolution along with the price of its main cryptocurrencies. On users' activities extracted from these longitudinal data, we applied a time-series correlation analysis and a correlation analysis between the action allocation strategies and the obtained rewards, in the case of most central accounts. The analysis has highlighted pieces of evidence of the influence of the cryptocurrency price on users' actions, particularly on actions that shape the structure of the social networks. Second, we also found highly rewarded users prefer actions related to the promotion of content rather than the creation of high-quality content, exploiting the reward distribution mechanisms implemented by the platform. These findings highlight that the shift of paradigm towards blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies might strengthen the influence of financial and economic factors rather than relational/social aspects on the evolution of these new complex techno-social systems.

The role of cryptocurrency in the dynamics of blockchain-based social networks: The case of Steemit / C.T. Ba, M. Zignani, S.T. Gaito. - In: PLOS ONE. - ISSN 1932-6203. - 17:6(2022), pp. e0267612.1-e0267612.22. [10.1371/journal.pone.0267612]

The role of cryptocurrency in the dynamics of blockchain-based social networks: The case of Steemit

C.T. Ba
Primo
;
M. Zignani
Secondo
;
S.T. Gaito
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

A shift of paradigm is running over online social platforms: the over-centralization of these platforms is leaving room for decentralized solutions based on blockchain technologies, such as blockchain-based online social networks-BOSNs. Among the many unknown aspects of these techno-social systems, the objective of this study is to propose an analytical framework to assess the impact of the cryptocurrencies linked to a BOSN platform on the evolution of its social network and on the behavior of their users, in terms of production of content and/or its promotion through a voting and rewarding system. The framework has been applied to Steemit, one of the most widespread BOSNs, from which we collected three-year-long high-resolution data on its evolution along with the price of its main cryptocurrencies. On users' activities extracted from these longitudinal data, we applied a time-series correlation analysis and a correlation analysis between the action allocation strategies and the obtained rewards, in the case of most central accounts. The analysis has highlighted pieces of evidence of the influence of the cryptocurrency price on users' actions, particularly on actions that shape the structure of the social networks. Second, we also found highly rewarded users prefer actions related to the promotion of content rather than the creation of high-quality content, exploiting the reward distribution mechanisms implemented by the platform. These findings highlight that the shift of paradigm towards blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies might strengthen the influence of financial and economic factors rather than relational/social aspects on the evolution of these new complex techno-social systems.
Social Networking; Technology; Blockchain
Settore INF/01 - Informatica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/939454
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