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Entropy 2013, 15(10), 4215-4242; doi:10.3390/e15104215

Modeling Dynamics of Diffusion Across Heterogeneous Social Networks: News Diffusion in Social Media

1
Research School of Computer Science, The Australian National University, ACT 0200, Australia
2
CSIRO Centre for Complex Systems Science, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), ACT 2600, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 August 2013 / Revised: 13 September 2013 / Accepted: 17 September 2013 / Published: 8 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Information Diffusion)
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Abstract

Diverse online social networks are becoming increasingly interconnected by sharing information. Accordingly, emergent macro-level phenomena have been observed, such as the synchronous spread of information across different types of social media. Attempting to analyze the emergent global behavior is impossible from the examination of a single social platform, and dynamic influences between different social networks are not negligible. Furthermore, the underlying structural property of networks is important, as it drives the diffusion process in a stochastic way. In this paper, we propose a macro-level diffusion model with a probabilistic approach by combining both the heterogeneity and structural connectivity of social networks. As real-world phenomena, we explore instances of news diffusion across different social media platforms from a dataset that contains over 386 million web documents covering a one-month period in early 2011. We find that influence between different media types is varied by the context of information. News media are the most influential in the arts and economy categories, while social networking sites (SNS) and blog media are in the politics and culture categories, respectively. Furthermore, controversial topics, such as political protests and multiculturalism failure, tend to spread concurrently across social media, while entertainment topics, such as film releases and celebrities, are more likely driven by interactions within single social platforms. We expect that the proposed model applies to a wider class of diffusion phenomena in diverse fields and that it provides a way of interpreting the dynamics of diffusion in terms of the strength and directionality of influences among populations.
Keywords: macro-level diffusion; dynamic influence; meta-populations; social media macro-level diffusion; dynamic influence; meta-populations; social media
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Kim, M.; Newth, D.; Christen, P. Modeling Dynamics of Diffusion Across Heterogeneous Social Networks: News Diffusion in Social Media. Entropy 2013, 15, 4215-4242.

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