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Information Propagation on the Web 2.0

Two Essays on the Propagation of User-Generated Content and How It Is Affected by Social Networks


Mark Elsner

The diffusion of the Internet has considerably changed the basic principles of information exchange into a structure that is now enabling user-driven information propagation across most markets that was not possible in the previous era of unidirectional mass communication. This study focuses on the submitters’ social networks to explain these new propagation processes. Large datasets from a social news site are used to show that it is the size, structure and activity of such networks that mainly influence whether or not certain content achieves a prominent level. Message and content-related factors seem of only marginal importance – at least until the respective content exceeds a threshold of public attention.


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Appendix 1: Data collection and transformation For purposes of data collection the Application Programming Interface (API) of Digg was used. APIs generally serve the purpose to return data of the respective site in a format that can more easily be integrated into websites or databases. The Digg API accepts REST (Representational State Transfers) requests and offers several response types: XML, JSON, Javascript, and serialized PHP. In addition, a PEAR module is available for PHP as well other open-source tool- kits. I used the XML response format. Exemplary requests and responses for stories, diggs and fan information are stated below (all dates are given in Unix time)26. Request for the two most recently submitted stories (request timestamp 1269004081): Response (in xml): President Obama has offered a budget that does nothing to ad- dress the nation's serious short-term and long-term fiscal problems--and indeed makes them worse. By doubling the national debt above pre-recession le- vels - Opinion: Obama's $3,000,000,000,000 Tax Hike 26 Note that more requests were used during the course of the analysis, i.e. request for friends and comments. If applicable, mutuality in friend or fan output is indicated through the ad- ditional variable “mutual”, where “1” indicates mutuality of the relationship 108 A review of web hosting service in the Philippines offered by - Hosting Review in the Philippines Request for the 20 most recent diggs on story id 20008833 (request time 1269006144)

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