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The Influence of Geographic Factors on Information Dissemination in Mobile Social Networks in China: Evidence from WeChat

Liu, Liang, Chen, Bin, Ai, Chuan, He, Lingnan, Wang, Yiping, Qiu, Xiaogang, Lu, Xin
ISPRS international journal of geo-information 2018 v.7 no.5
data collection, decision making, geographical distribution, information dissemination, marketing, probability, public opinion, social networks, social services, spatial data, China
Mobile social networking services provide efficient and easy communication, enabling users to create, retrieve and disseminate messages on the go while making their messages widely available. Despite growing evidence suggesting that geographic location and distance restrict online communication and interaction patterns, the role of geographic factors on the information dissemination in mobile social networks is often overlooked. We conducted a large-scale analysis on how the geographic factors influence the information dissemination in mobile social networks, by using two different datasets which recorded billions of users’ viewing and forwarding activities corresponding as well as the temporal and geographic information. The effects of two geographic factors, namely location and distance, on the probability and velocity of information dissemination were explored by measuring the geographic distribution of the four key indicators, namely viewing probability, forwarding probability, response time, and decision-making time. The results verify the distance decay effect of the information dissemination probability, and demonstrate that the velocity of information dissemination is not dependent on geographic distance. Furthermore, both the probability and velocity of information dissemination show heterogeneity and diversity of geographic location. Our research makes up for the gap in the relationship between geographic factors and information dissemination in mobile social networks. Our findings can provide suggestions for mobile social services, public opinion regulation and precision marketing.