Homophily and social influence are the main explanations for why there are more ties among people who have similar socio-demographic or behavioral characteristics. Homophily refers to the phenomenon that people are more likely to make relational ties with others who are similar to themselves than those who are not, whereas social influence refers to the phenomenon that an individual's behavior is likely to become more similar to that of her friends over time. It is important to study both homophily and social influence processes of a social network because each process can lead to different structural characteristics for a social network; homophily can lead to separation among the members of a network, whereas social influence can lead to network-wide uniformity. In this study, we examine homophily and social influence processes among online casual game players. Specifically, we ask whether an online casual game player tends to be friends with other online casual game players who have similar game genre preferences and whether a player's genre preferences and gaming frequencies become more similar to those of her Kongregate friends over time. For this study, demographic attributes, game genre preferences, gaming frequencies, and relational ties for 2488 game players were collected for two time periods from Kongregate. The panel data were analyzed with RSiena, the R version of SIENA (Simulation Investigation for Empirical Network Analysis), a social network analysis program used for social network panel data. The results suggest that there might not be strong homophily and social influence processes operating among the game players in the sampled network.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Networks and Communications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering