Online social media has greatly affected the way in which we communicate with each other. However, little is known about what fundamental mechanisms drive dynamical information flow in online social systems. Here, we introduce a generative model for online sharing behavior that is analytically tractable and that can reproduce several characteristics of empirical micro-blogging data on hashtag usage, such as (time-dependent) heavy-tailed distributions of meme popularity. The presented framework constitutes a null model for social spreading phenomena that, in contrast to purely empirical studies or simulation-based models, clearly distinguishes the roles of two distinct factors affecting meme popularity: the memory time of users and the connectivity structure of the social network.
Physical Review X
- Pub Date:
- April 2016
- Physics - Physics and Society;
- Computer Science - Social and Information Networks;
- Nonlinear Sciences - Adaptation and Self-Organizing Systems
- This revised version accepted for publication in Physical Review X