Your power to spread the word: Comment Online!

November 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

It is funny how things sometimes intersect. Just having covered the topic of social networks and online communities in class and which role audiences can play in spreading the word for instance about arts performances, a new international study has been released a few days ago that “reveals how information and ideas spread across a network”. Scientists argue that it is fairly predictable how comments on large websites will grow and in which direction, if they will support the original message or rather provoke controversy while commentators start their own discussion. In general it is very difficult to track information that travel by word-of-mouth, but online comments give scientists the opportunity to collect compete data trees. It is often the case that the more comments a post has, it attracts even more people to comment, creating a so called “popularity bias”. But taking Wikipedia as an example, the opposite usually happens. As Stanford economist Ben Golub says: “ Wikipedia is goal-oriented … once an issues has been addressed, that’s the end of the conversation.” The research allows scientists to create a simple model that shows how users spread information online. “The findings give hope to social scientists trying to understand broader online phenomena.” If you would like to read the whole article go here:

– Ricarda


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