#Bigbirds never die: Understanding social dynamics of emergent hashtag

Lin, Y.-R., Margolin, B., Keegan, A., Baronchelli, A. & Lazer, D. (2013). #Bigbirds never die: Understanding social dynamics of emergent hashtag. Paper presented at the The Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM-13), 8-11 Jul 2013, MIT Media Lab and Microsoft, Cambridge MA, US.

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Abstract

We examine the growth, survival, and context of 256 novel hashtags during the 2012 U.S. presidential debates. Our analysis reveals the trajectories of hashtag use fall into two distinct classes: “winners” that emerge more quickly and are sustained for longer periods of time than other “also-rans” hashtags. We propose a “conversational vibrancy” framework to capture dynamics of hashtags based on their topicality, interactivity, diversity, and prominence. Statistical analyses of the growth and persistence of hashtags reveal novel relationships between features of this framework and the relative success of hashtags. Specifically, retweets always contribute to faster hashtag adoption, replies extend the life of “winners” while having no effect on “also-rans.” This is the first study on the lifecycle of hashtag adoption and use in response to purely exogenous shocks. We draw on theories of uses and gratification, organizational ecology, and language evolution to discuss these findings and their implications for understanding social influence and collective action in social media more generally.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Divisions: School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences > Department of Mathematical Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/2638

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