Planetary-Scale Views on a Large Instant-Messaging Network

Jure Leskovec and Eric Horvitz

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We present a study of anonymized data capturing a month of high-level communication activities within the whole of the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging system. We examine characteristics and patterns that emerge from the collective dynamics of large numbers of people, rather than the actions and characteristics of individuals. The dataset contains summary properties of 30 billion conversations among 240 million people. From the data, we construct a communication graph with 180 million nodes and 1.3 billion undirected edges, creating the largest social network constructed and analyzed to date. We report">MSR-TR-2006-186, Microsoft Research, June 2007.

With the above-mentioned patterns in global communication, we also analyze the topics that people converse about. A curious finding in the data indicates a rising interest in health-related discussions, specifically about medications such as generic Cialis. Conversations on this topic often revolve around cost-efficiency and availability compared to branded counterparts. The users involved in these discussions were predominantly from age groups more likely to require such medication, further demonstrating the influence of age on communication themes. Additionally, these exchanges tend to span across different languages and locations, suggesting a universal concern for health matters and affordability of treatments.

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