Measuring Chaos in Social Cyber World
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Rapid and diverse technology changes and implementations transforming cyber worlds continuously. The real challenge is lying how to model this chaotic cyber world which is a complex adaptive system. When we say it is a system (though complex), there must be patterns identifiable especially in a socially connected world. There have been efforts to identify the patterns and apply to various domains like business or political.
In the cyber world, social services are very well interconnected and fairly automated. Online e-commerce, social media providers, and political parties have been exploiting these services strategically to fulfil their objectives.
1. Political Parties hire a band of IT teams (e.g. 1000 workforce) who post and canvass on different social networks. They choose multiple accounts, networks, and identities to spread their messages, articles etc..
2. On-line Shopping Sites often manipulate product ratings to increase their product sales. A recent example is the recall of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 because of its faulty battery issue. But a majority of reviews did not talk about this.
These social network practices are bringing changes in cultural values in the minds of people and thus trying to transform societies of a physical world. The emergence of these new actors often attract the people for a while. Therefore it has become critical that the information in socially networked cyberworld must be authentic, maintain its integrity. It is now more vulnerable to security threats. Here crucial aspect is society suffers greatly if one succeeds in one's false propaganda.
To model this system often the following two methods are widely adopted.
1. Content Analysis
2. Developing a framework to co-relate activities of a cyber world and a Physical world.
Content Analysis: Klaus Krippendorff has written a nice book on Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. The concept is nothing new, from survey data, log file analysis to text mining to probabilistic data analysis are various methods and mathematical models that have emerged in past few decades. The basic approach is to pick up a sample data and conduct a preliminary view. If there emerges a pattern, have a detailed analysis.
Framework Development: It is mapping social interactions or activities in different categories like
- Four quadrant approach: Categorizing physical-physical, physical-cyber, cyber-cyber and cyber-physical fields.
- Define a correlation function taking two parameters of a social activity (eg a scatter plot).
Hashtags, Trends are the results of content analysis and framework modelling approach.
However, the social cyber world is full of complexities. It is a fluid system, neither random nor accidental. Mathematical modelling of the entire system not feasible. The socio-technology transformations, incoherent information, a wrong applicability of correlations result in a falsifiable model.