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Entropy 2013, 15(11), 4553-4568; doi:10.3390/e15114553
Article

Diffusion Dynamics with Changing Network Composition

1,* , 1
, 2
, 1,3,4
 and 5,*
1 Instituto de Biocomputación y Física de Sistemas Complejos (BIFI), Universidad de Zaragoza, Mariano Esquillor s/n, Zaragoza 50018, Spain 2 Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3JS, UK 3 Departamento de Física Teórica, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza 50009, Spain 4 Complex Networks and Systems Lagrange Lab, Institute for Scientific Interchange, Turin 10126, Italy 5 Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, 3620 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 August 2013 / Revised: 10 October 2013 / Accepted: 11 October 2013 / Published: 24 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Information Diffusion)
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Abstract

We analyze information diffusion using empirical data that tracks online communication around two instances of mass political mobilization that took place in Spain in 2011 and 2012. We also analyze protest-related communications during the year that elapsed between those protests. We compare the global properties of the topological and dynamic networks through which communication took place, as well as local changes in network composition. We show that changes in network structure underlie aggregated differences on how information diffused: an increase in network hierarchy is accompanied by a reduction in the average size of cascades. The increasing hierarchy affects not only the underlying communication topology but also the more dynamic structure of information exchange; the increase is especially noticeable amongst certain categories of nodes (or users). Our findings suggest that the relationship between the structure of networks and their function in diffusing information is not as straightforward as some theoretical models of diffusion in networks imply.
Keywords: information cascades; political communication; online networks; collective behavior information cascades; political communication; online networks; collective behavior
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Baños, R.A.; Borge-Holthoefer, J.; Wang, N.; Moreno, Y.; González-Bailón, S. Diffusion Dynamics with Changing Network Composition. Entropy 2013, 15, 4553-4568.

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