The Fourth International Seminar in Network Theory, sponsored by ANN and the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) research laboratory at Northwestern University, was held at the University of Southern California April 26 – 28, 2012. The conference theme this year was “Networked Social Movements and Network Theory,” and speakers included Sasha Costanza-Chock, Karine Nahon, Steven Livingston, Mario Diani, Gilad Lotan, Lance Bennett, Richard Rogers, Michael Macy, and Manuel Castells. For more information about the conference, video of the speakers, and presentation summaries, see the 2012 conference page on our website.
Eytan Bakshy, Itamar Rosenn, Cameron Marlow, Lada Adamic
In order to study information diffusion in online social networks, Eytan Bakshy and colleagues have conducted a large-scale experiment involving more than 250 million facebook users. The results shed new light on the issue of fragmented of online audiences. In addition, the authors draw conclusions regarding the role of weak ties in information sharing on the internet.
From the authors:
Online social networking technologies enable individuals to simultaneously share information with any number of peers. Quantifying the causal effect of these technologies on the dissemination of information requires not only identification of who influences whom, but also of whether individuals would still propagate information in the absence of social signals about that information. We examine the role of social networks in online information diffusion with a large-scale field experiment that randomizes exposure to signals about friends’ information sharing among 253 million subjects in situ. Those who are exposed are significantly more likely to spread information, and do so sooner than those who are not exposed. We further examine the relative role of strong and weak ties in information propagation. We show that, although stronger ties are individually more influential, it is the more abundant weak ties who are responsible for the propagation of novel information. This suggests that weak ties may play a more dominant role in the dissemination of information online than currently believed.
A new article by Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, and Stefano Battiston posted on arXiv.org explores the international ownership networks of corporations. The paper investigates network topology and lists core economic actors.
From the authors:
The structure of the control network of transnational corporations affects global market competition and financial stability. So far, only small national samples were studied and there was no appropriate methodology to assess control globally. We present the first investigation of the architecture of the international ownership network, along with the computation of the control held by each global player. We find that transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic “super-entity” that raises new important issues both for researchers and policy makers.
Citation networks have long been known as useful tools of representation and data analysis in scientometric research. A team of scholars coming from biology and physics have now set out to build a suite of citation mapping and recommendation services for everyday use.
Read the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
On a related note: check out VOSviewer, one existing software for analysis & visualization of bibliometric networks. As of last week, the new version 1.4 is out, offering bug fixes and better support for Pajek files.
Mark Newman is a physics professor at the University of Michigan and the author of a comprehensive textbook on network analysis (Networks: An Introduction, 784 pages) He has studied networks in fields ranging from sociology and economics to computer science and biology. In 2010, he gave three talks on network analysis as part of the Santa Fe Institute‘s 2010 Ulam Lecture series.
We recommend all three for people interested in finding more about relational thinking and network structures.
This issue of Journal of Communication features a new article by USC Annenberg PhD graduate Seungyoon Lee, currently assistant professor at Purdue University, and USC professor Peter Monge, PI of the Annenberg Networks Network. The article studies co-evolution of communication networks in ICT4D projects and is interesting both theoretically and methodologically.
Read the abstract below – or go to the full JoC article.
A color version of the paper is also available here.
From the authors:
This research examines the evolutionary patterns and determinants of multiplex organizational communication networks. Based on the data between 1997 and 2005 collected from the records of development projects in the field of Information and Communication Technology for Development, the study demonstrates that dynamics in one network are significant drivers of tie formation in the other network at both dyadic and triadic levels. In particular, results show that the effects of common third-party ties and structural embeddedness exist across multiplex networks. Further, the study suggests that resource similarity of organizational dyads, resource width, and organizational centrality have positive effects on the propensity for multiplex ties. These results have implications for organizations’ communication networking strategies in a wide variety of organizational communities.
The ACM 3rd International Conference on Web Science recently concluded in Koblenz, Germany, June 14 to June 17, 2011. The conference, also supported by the International Communication Association and the ACM Special Interest Group on Hypertext, Hypermedia, and the Web, featured paper presentations, speakers, and panels, of which more information may be found on the conference website, http://www.websci11.org/. From the conference organizers:
“Web Science is concerned with the full scope of socio-technical relationships that are engaged in the World Wide Web. It is based on the notion that understanding the Web involves not only an analysis of its architecture and applications, but also insight into the people, organizations, policies, and economics that are affected by and subsumed within it. As such Web Science, and thus this conference, is inherently interdisciplinary and integrates computer and information sciences with a multitude of disciplines including sociology, economics, political science, law, management, language and communication, geography and psychology. This conference is unique in the manner in which it brings these disciplines together in creative and critical dialogue.”
Video lectures from the conference may be viewed at http://videolectures.net/acmwebsci2011_koblenz/. Next year’s Web Science conference will be held at Northwestern University, June 21 – June 24, 2012.
The 3rd International Workshop on Network Theory, “Web Science Meets Network Science,” was held March 4 – 6, 2011 at Northwestern University. Sponsored by ANN, the Science of Networks in Communities Laboratory (SONIC), at Northwestern, and the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO), the workshop featured ten presentations by a diverse group of scientists working at the intersection of Web science and network science. In an article about the workshop in the May 2011 issue of Communications of the ACM, Alex Wright writes:
“The workshop organizers hoped to frame a new research agenda by leveraging the commonalities and distinctive contributions of Web science and network science, and to formulate questions of interest to both communities. The two-day conference covered a wide range of broadly related topics such as debating the merits of network science’s ‘pure’ scientific approach vs. the more applied, engineering-oriented tactics of Web science; analyzing the effects of scale on network behaviors; exploring questions of causality, correlation, and inference; and discussing the possibility of a Web index, an idea currently being promoted by [Tim] Berners-Lee. Looking ahead, plenty of room exists for continuing dialogue between the two camps, who will almost certainly continue to probe each other’s boundaries while searching for common ground.”
For a list of presentations, photos, and additional information about the workshop, please see the ANN Conference page on this site.