Studying the viral growth of a connective action network using information event signatures

Jeff Hemsley, First Monday, Jul 31, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting paper studying the growth and decline of 'connective action networks' such as the Occupy movement and the Arab spring. " A connective action network supports collective action by employing technologies that link together users who all have their own network." Tracking the growth of these networks lets us know when a protest will become a movement, and when (or how soon) a movement will begin to decay (contrast these with 'viral phenomena' which show a rapid rise in growth (often with the help of promotion) and an equally steep decline after the fad has passed. "This work suggests there phases of growth similar to the diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 1995): a period of ramping up, followed by a faster increase and then slowdown in growth." Interestingly, the Occupy network still exists, and even though it has been relatively quiet, the right events could cause it to become active again.

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