Two-Sided Cultural Niches: Topic Overlap, Geospatial Correlation, and Local Group Activities on Event-Based Social Networks
Association for Computing Machinery
As event-based social networks (EBSNs) such as Meetup.com and Facebook Events gain popularity in managing local events (e.g., farmers’ markets and social gatherings), two-sided cultural niches are created as event organizers and participants benefit from the platform while affecting each other. Among various factors, niche overlap, an ecological feature, has been studied as a key factor that shapes the success of online communities. While such ecological factors may also shape EBSN-based local groups’ success, the context of EBSNs raises unique challenges in understanding the roles of cultural niches due to the informal nature of the local groups and their geographical embeddedness. In this paper, we examine the effects of Meetup groups’ topic overlap and geospatial correlation on the activity levels of both organizers and participants, using one-year Meetup data for 500 cities in the United States. We find that (1) a group’s topic overlap with other groups on EBSN is associated with its activity levels, and (2) local groups’ geospatial correlation may moderate the effects of topic overlap for EBSN users, but inconsistently. The results provide a baseline understanding of EBSN-based groups from an ecological perspective.