Journal Paper: “A Graph-Based Socioeconomic Analysis of Steemit”

Barbara Guidi, Andrea Michienzi & Laura Ricci 
Università di Pisa
IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems


Online social networks (OSNs) have changed the way people interact; however, lately, people are questioning more and more their business models. During the last ten years, new solutions based on decentralized architectures have been proposed, namely, decentralized OSNs (DOSNs) and blockchain online social medias (BOSMs). DOSNs were introduced several years ago and their main goal is the preservation of the privacy of the users in such a way that the data and the content of a user are always under their control. BOSMs leverage the usage of blockchain either to enforce the privacy of the users or to redistribute the wealth generated by the platform through a rewarding system. Steemit is the most stable and well-known BOSM with more than 1 million registered users, where users can create their own social network by following other users. To the best of our knowledge, no study exists on the relationship between the economic and social characteristics of BOSMs and on the way the rewarding system affects the social activity. The main goal of this article is to evaluate the characteristics of the Steemit follower-following graph to understand how the social and the economic aspects of BOSMs intertwine and influence each other. We study the properties of the Steemit follower-following graph and a few selected hotspot contents. The analysis shows that users are highly encouraged to be socially active, especially producing content, but the richest users are not also the most social ones, which suggests us that users can get rich without much involvement in the platform, using external mechanisms.

Keywords: Blockchain, Social networking (online), Servers, Blogs, Privacy, Economics, Proposals, graph analysis, social media, steemit