Title: Small world theory and the World Wide Web: linking small world properties and website centrality

Authors: Davide Di Fatta; Francesco Caputo; Federica Evangelista; Gandolfo Dominici

Addresses: Department of Economical and Environmental Sciences, Business, Quantitative Technique, University of Messina, Messina, Italy ' Department of Computer Systems and Communications, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic ' Department of Economics and Law, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, Italy ' Department of Economics, Business and Statistics, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; Business Systems Laboratory, Avellino, Italy

Abstract: This qualitative paper aims to point out the incidence of small world characteristics in the World Wide Web. To this end, some theoretical implications of small world theory (SWT) are verified using information from focus groups and in-depth interviews administered to experts and users of the World Wide Web. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether it is possible to apply small world properties to online social networks while pointing out the key variables of website centrality in that context. Building on this, the paper traces possible contributions for better management of the World Wide Web in terms of the professional use of social media to facilitate information or product and service sharing. The results of the proposed investigation highlight some pivotal aspects of small world properties on the web, as well as on website centrality. The findings are relevant for the application of social media marketing (SMM) and search engine optimisation (SEO).

Keywords: World Wide Web; WWW; small world theory; SWT; social media marketing; SMM; search engine optimisation; SEO; website centrality; online social networks; information sharing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMABS.2016.080237

International Journal of Markets and Business Systems, 2016 Vol.2 No.2, pp.126 - 140

Received: 04 Jun 2016
Accepted: 27 Jun 2016

Published online: 02 Nov 2016 *

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