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Twitter and information cascades

Twitter is one of the most popular social networking sites today. Its users post tweets, short messages of up to 140 characters containing a variety of content. As a very dynamic communication medium spreading breaking news, emergency broadcasts, marketing and many more. However, the article from the New York Times, describes the negative effect of information cascades that twitter can bring by false information.

According to the article written by Jenna Wrotham, when Hurricane Sandy struck the whole country, thousands of people relied on microblogging service for alert, updates and real-time reports and photographs of the storm. The problem is that not all of them were true and people started to be agitated by those updates. There are various tools within Twitter that perfectly leads to information cascades where people abandon their private decision and engage in mainstream’s actions. A person observes how earlier people act and although he or she has already chosen a decision beforehand, he follows what other people have done. In case of Twitter, re-tweeting other people’s tweets suddenly spreads certain content worldwide and when it comes to public figure’s re-tweet, spreading in a second is not an issue.

Information cascades happening in twitter is relevant to materials we covered in class in a way that it sometimes leads inaccurate information to cover the social network and actually affect real life events.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/technology/on-twitter-sifting-through-falsehoods-in-critical-times.html?_r=0

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