Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Decentralized Social Networks Sound Great: Too Bad They’ll Never Work

16
Sep

by Chelsea Barabas, Neha Narula, and Ethan Zuckerman Over the last 13 years, Facebook has evolved from a lifestyle site for college kids into a cornerstone of civic life. It is one of a handful of very large platforms that dominate our online world. As such platforms have gained traction, the web has transformed from an open space for free expression into a corporate-owned gated community of private platforms. The power of giant platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter leads to problems ranging from the threat of government-ordered censorship to more subtle, algorithmic biases in the curation of content users consume. Moreover, as these platforms expand their reach, the ripple effects of exclusion can have serious consequences for people’s personal and professional lives, and users have no clear path to recourse. The platforms that host and inform our networked public sphere are unelected, unaccountable, and often impossible to audit or oversee. In response, there is a growing movement among free speech advocates to create new technology to address these concerns. Early web pioneers like Brewster Kahle have called for ways we might “lock the web open” with code, enabling peer-to-peer interactions in place of mediated private platforms. The idea is to return to ...

SONIC and ATLAS members presenting at AOM 2017

04
Aug

On August 5-8 SONIC and ATLAS members with Noshir Contractor and Leslie DeChurch will present at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM) in Atlanta, GA. The conference theme this year is At the Interface. You can find the complete program and schedule here. To see a distilled schedule of SONIC and ATLAS presentations and their abstracts, please follow this link.    

Noshir Contractor at ASONAM 2017 in Sydney, Australia

02
Aug

Noshir Contractor is attending the 2017 IEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM) in Sydney, Australia. A paper, co-authored by Noshir is being presented at the conference: Li, Y., Sun, Y., & Contractor, N. (2017, August). Graph mining assisted semi-supervised learning for fraudulent cash-out detection.

SONIC students and Noshir presenting at INGRoup 2017 in Saint Louis

20
Jul

On July 20-22, SONIC doctoral candidate Jackie Ng, SONIC alum visiting researcher Julija Mell, and ATLAS doctoral students Ashley Niler and Lindsay Larson will present at the 12th Annual INGRoup Conference, held in Saint Louis, Missouri. You can see their talks’ details by following the link to INGRoup 2017 Presentations. Noshir Contractor is a panelist on “Sources of Data for Capturing Group Processes and Emergence” at 2017 INGRoup Doctoral Consortium, held on July 20th.  

SONIC papers presented at the 1st NASN Conference in DC

19
Jul

Four SONIC papers were presented at the 1st North America Social Networks (NASN) Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA), held on July 26th, 2017 – July 30th, 2017 in DC, USA. Title: “Cultivating the Conference Culture: The Role of Diversity in Interdisciplinary Meetings” by Zachary Gibson, Gabriella Anton, Wouter Vermeer, Diego Gómez-Zará, Connor Bain, Leslie Dechurch, Uri Wilensky and Noshir Contractor Title: “Coevolution of interpersonal perceptions and team structure in long-duration space exploration missions” by Igor Zakhlebin, Alla Vinokhodova, Vadim Gushin, Suzanne Bell, Leslie Dechurch and Noshir Contractor. Title: “The Role of Brokers in Academic Network Building” by Diego Gomez-Zara, Wouter Vermeer, Zachary Gibson, Connor Bain, Gabriella Anton, Leslie Dechurch, Uri Wilensky and Noshir Contractor. Title: “Structured Text Analysis for Evaluating Shared Cognition” by Michael Schultz, Leslie Dechurch and Noshir Contractor.

How does network structure influence the wisdom of crowds?

13
Jul

Researchers at Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania recently published a paper about “Network dynamics of social influence in the wisdom of crowds” in PNAS. They conducted an online network experiment where participants were asked to estimate numeric quantity (e.g., the caloric content) and tested how the accuracy of group estimates changes in different communication networks. They found that in decentralized networks, the group estimates were improved and in centralized networks, the accuracy of group estimates was undermined. Read the full article here.

Noshir Contractor is on the organizing committee and a chair at IC2S2 2017 in Cologne, Germany

12
Jul

This July 10-13 Noshir is attending the 3rd International Conference on Computational Social Science, IC2S2 2017 in Cologne, Germany.  He is on the organizing committee of this conference and is also one of the four chairs. On Wednesday, July 12 Pj Lamberson presents a paper co-authored with Noshir, John Lang, Leslie DeChurch, Brian Uzzi in a Session on Collaboration and Communities. The title of the talk is “Sharing Strategies: Optimal networks for team collaboration and problem solving.” #IC2S2

Igor Zakhlebin presents a talk at JuliaCon 2017

08
Jul

SONIC graduate student, Igor Zakhlebin, has presented at 4th annual Julia developers conference (JuliaCon 2017) held in Berkeley, California on June 20-24. His talk introduced a new network analysis package for Julia language (Junet.jl) that is being developed by him. The talk page: http://juliacon.org/2017/talks#lightning-23.

Social networks may one day diagnose disease–but at a cost

05
Jul

by Sam Volchenboum The world is becoming one big clinical trial. Humanity is generating streams of data from different sources every second. And this information, continuously flowing from social media, mobile GPS and wifi locations, search history, drugstore rewards cards, wearable devices, and much more, can provide insights into a person’s health and well-being. It’s now entirely conceivable that Facebook or Google—two of the biggest data platforms and predictive engines of our behavior—could tell someone they might have cancer before they even suspect it. Someone complaining about night sweats and weight loss on social media might not know these can be signs of lymphoma, or that their morning joint stiffness and propensity to sunburn could herald lupus. But it’s entirely feasible that bots trolling social network posts could pick up on these clues. Sharing these insights and predictions could save lives and improve health, but there are good reasons why data platforms aren’t doing this today. The question is, then, do the risks outweigh the benefits? Read the full article here.

Emotion shapes the diffusion of moralized content in social networks

05
Jul

by William J. Brady, Julian A. Willis, John T. Tost, Joshua A. Tucker, and Jay J. Van Bavel Political debate concerning moralized issues is increasingly common in online social networks. However, moral psychology has yet to incorporate the study of social networks to investigate processes by which some moral ideas spread more rapidly or broadly than others. Here, we show that the expression of moral emotion is key for the spread of moral and political ideas in online social networks, a process we call “moral contagion.” Using a large sample of social media communications about three polarizing moral/political issues, we observed that the presence of moral-emotional words in messages increased their diffusion by a factor of 20% for each additional word. Furthermore, we found that moral contagion was bounded by group membership; moral-emotional language increased diffusion more strongly within liberal and conservative networks, and less between them. Our results highlight the importance of emotion in the social transmission of moral ideas and also demonstrate the utility of social network methods for studying morality. These findings offer insights into how people are exposed to moral and political ideas through social networks, thus expanding models of social influence and group polarization as people become increasingly ...