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Outtweeting the Twitterers–Predicting Information Cascades in Microblogs

Outtweeting the Twitterers – Predicting Information Cascades in Microblogs


This article overviews an experiment done to see the pattern of information cascades through Twitter. The experiment is based on looking at patterns of how URLs are “retweeted” throughout the popular microblog Twitter. By looking at the acquired information, the results may be able to explain underlying aspects of sociology and give a good representation of how information cascades throughout a network. Twitter allows people to create short posts, which their “followers” can view. When an individual posts a URL then his followers will be able to access the link and, if they desire, to “retweet” so that all of their followers will also be able to view it. By looking at the how information is tweeted and retweeted, you can trace the course of information flow throughout the network by finding the source of the original URL post and seeing how it flowed through their followers and the followers of their followers.

This observational experiment shows a good example of the idea of information cascades we discussed in class. As the textbook discusses, an information cascade occurs when information is passed on sequentially. An individual is able to see the information provided by those before them and then they are able to make a decision based on the sources provided to them. This experiment shows a good representation of an information cascade. This progression of information throughout twitter is a quick and effective way to pass information along. Information can spread at a record pace that was not possible before the creation of social media.


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