Analysis of 791 million actions on social media leads to increase in user’s online and offline activities

Mobilize Center graduate student Tim Althoff, Computer Science graduate student Pranav Jindal, and Mobilize Center faculty Jure Leskovec published a research paper in Proceedings of the Tenth ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM 2017), where they investigated the effect of social networks on users’ online and offline behaviors, including user engagement, retention, and physical activity levels.

The results are based on an analysis of data from 6 million people from over 100 countries collected over a 5-year period using the physical activity tracking application Argus. Althoff and colleagues found that participating in the social network increases both in-application activity as well as physical activity levels.  They were also able to take advantage of a natural experiment within the dataset to distinguish between correlation and causation.

Read full article