Document Type

State of the Art


Along with the explosive growth of the phenomenon Online Social Networks (OSN), identifying influential users in OSN has received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, the development of practical approaches for identifying them is still in its infancy. By means of a structured literature review, the authors analyze and synthesize the publications particularly from two perspectives. From a research perspective, they find that existing approaches mostly build on users’ connectivity and activity but hardly consider further characteristics of influential users. Moreover, they outline two major research streams. It becomes apparent that most marketing-oriented articles draw on real-world data of OSN, while more technology-oriented papers rather have a theoretical approach and mostly evaluate their artifacts by means of formal proofs. The authors find that a stronger collaboration between the scientific Business and Information Systems Engineering (BISE) and Marketing communities could be mutually beneficial. With respect to a practitioner’s perspective, they compile advice on the practical application of approaches for the identification of influential users. It is hoped that the results can stimulate and guide future research.