The blogosphere as an excitable social medium: Richter's and Omori's Law in media coverage

Klimek, P., Bayer, W., & Thurner, S. (2011). The blogosphere as an excitable social medium: Richter's and Omori's Law in media coverage. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications 390 (21) 3870-3875. 10.1016/j.physa.2011.05.033.

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We study the dynamics of public media attention by monitoring the content of online blogs. Social and media events can be traced by the propagation of word frequencies of related keywords. Media events are classified as exogenous-where blogging activity is triggered by an external news item-or endogenous where word frequencies build up within a blogging community without external influences. We show that word occurrences exhibit statistical similarities to earthquakes. Moreover the size distribution of events scales with a similar exponent as found in the Gutenberg-Richter law. The dynamics of media events before and after the main event can be satisfactorily modeled as a type of process which has been used to understand fore-and aftershock rate distributions in earthquakes-the Omori law. We present empirical evidence that for media events of endogenous origin the overall public reception of the event is correlated with the behavior of word frequencies at the beginning of the event, and is to a certain degree predictable. These results imply that the process of opinion formation in a human society might be related to effects known from excitable media.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Empirical power laws; Excitable social system; Statistical human dynamics
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Bibliographic Reference: Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications; 390(21-22):3870-3875 (15 October 2011) (Published online 15 June 2011)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:39

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