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Does Age Make a Difference in the Behaviour of Online Social Network Users?

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3 Author(s)
Quinn, D. ; Fac. of Comput. & Eng., Univ. of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK ; Liming Chen ; Mulvenna, M.

The online interactions and behaviours of older and younger users have not yet been fully explored. The aim of this study is to present an analysis of the behavioural differences of younger (15-30) and older (50+) users in the use of the online social network site facebook.com. As part of an investigation the full user "Wall" data was extracted from two user groups within Face book in order to answer two research questions (a) Are friend numbers in online social networks related to age? And (b) Does the use of features differ with age? Results of an interaction analysis study show that a clear correlation exists between a user's age and the number of friends they retain. Results show that in respect of feature selection behavioural differences are evident in the use of available user functions, such as the posting of comments and media usage. Our findings show that as users of different ages interact in online social networks, friend numbers vary considerably with younger users having 11 times more friends than older users. Also, we found that the behavior of older users can be identified as being different in usage when compared to younger users.

Published in:

Internet of Things (iThings/CPSCom), 2011 International Conference on and 4th International Conference on Cyber, Physical and Social Computing

Date of Conference:

19-22 Oct. 2011

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