Recognizing patterns and rhythms in social media data
Wayne Gretsky is quoted as saying that a great hockey player plays where “the puck is going to be,” not where it is. Gretsky, like the great NBA point guards (think Magic Johnson or Mark Price), was quick to detect emerging patterns in movement and flows–then take advantage of what was about to happen. In our research efforts, we often try to detect patterns in order to explore what these patterns may tell us about underlying processes.
The SoMe Lab is examining patterns in the movement and flows of information between and among social media platforms. We observe that traditional media news may inform or trigger information exchanges in the blogosphere or Twitter; and vice versa. We want to look closely at these patterns to gain insights into phenomena such as virality, the birth and life cycle of interest networks, and the dynamics of a fluid cast of gatekeepers. The accompanying image illustrates the patterns that distinguish the volume of tweets, blog posts, and traditional news items following the pepper spraying incident at UC-Davis November 18, 2011.
I presented a paper with Manuel Castells in the 13th annual meeting of AOIR (Association of Internet Researchers) from a study we are conducting regarding networked social movements. In April we presented some of the findings at the USC Annenberg School for the ANN-SONIC Fourth International Seminar. You can watch the video by clicking here, or you can read below for further explanation about the work and the dynamics of power among stakeholders.Read More
In our digitally mediated world information that we might wish to remain private can be copied, shared and spread in a viral-like fashion, reaching millions of people. Alternately, content we create and share with the hope of grabbing the public’s attention, may remain stubbornly obscure despite our best promotion efforts. So, while our networked world offers the potential for empowering citizens and consumers, the dynamics of human attention suggest that we may have little control over information artifacts once we make them public.Read More
Social media has characteristics of both interpersonal communication and mass communication that empowers people in new ways. Mass communication has traditionally broadcast messages to an aggregated audience, while interpersonal communication has been a direct person-to-person communication. Another way to think of this difference is that broadcasters send messaged to their audiences in a one-to-many fashion whereas individuals communicating do so one-to-one. But social media occupies a middle ground between the two of many-to-many communication. How does this work and how does it empower people?Read More