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      Understanding Information Spreading in Social Media during Hurricane Sandy: User Activity and Network Properties

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          Abstract

          Many people use social media to seek information during disasters while lacking access to traditional information sources. In this study, we analyze Twitter data to understand information spreading activities of social media users during hurricane Sandy. We create multiple subgraphs of Twitter users based on activity levels and analyze network properties of the subgraphs. We observe that user information sharing activity follows a power-law distribution suggesting the existence of few highly active nodes in disseminating information and many other nodes being less active. We also observe close enough connected components and isolates at all levels of activity, and networks become less transitive, but more assortative for larger subgraphs. We also analyze the association between user activities and characteristics that may influence user behavior to spread information during a crisis. Users become more active in spreading information if they are centrally placed in the network, less eccentric, and have higher degrees. Our analysis provides insights on how to exploit user characteristics and network properties to spread information or limit the spreading of misinformation during a crisis event.

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          Most cited references31

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          Emergence of scaling in random networks

          Systems as diverse as genetic networks or the world wide web are best described as networks with complex topology. A common property of many large networks is that the vertex connectivities follow a scale-free power-law distribution. This feature is found to be a consequence of the two generic mechanisms that networks expand continuously by the addition of new vertices, and new vertices attach preferentially to already well connected sites. A model based on these two ingredients reproduces the observed stationary scale-free distributions, indicating that the development of large networks is governed by robust self-organizing phenomena that go beyond the particulars of the individual systems.
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            The structure and function of complex networks

            M. Newman (2003)
            Inspired by empirical studies of networked systems such as the Internet, social networks, and biological networks, researchers have in recent years developed a variety of techniques and models to help us understand or predict the behavior of these systems. Here we review developments in this field, including such concepts as the small-world effect, degree distributions, clustering, network correlations, random graph models, models of network growth and preferential attachment, and dynamical processes taking place on networks.
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              Error and attack tolerance of complex networks

              Many complex systems, such as communication networks, display a surprising degree of robustness: while key components regularly malfunction, local failures rarely lead to the loss of the global information-carrying ability of the network. The stability of these complex systems is often attributed to the redundant wiring of the functional web defined by the systems' components. In this paper we demonstrate that error tolerance is not shared by all redundant systems, but it is displayed only by a class of inhomogeneously wired networks, called scale-free networks. We find that scale-free networks, describing a number of systems, such as the World Wide Web, Internet, social networks or a cell, display an unexpected degree of robustness, the ability of their nodes to communicate being unaffected by even unrealistically high failure rates. However, error tolerance comes at a high price: these networks are extremely vulnerable to attacks, i.e. to the selection and removal of a few nodes that play the most important role in assuring the network's connectivity.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                2017-06-09
                Article
                1706.03019
                38e8104c-ed3a-4bd8-b41a-705134cf0332

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

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                Custom metadata
                cs.SI

                Social & Information networks
                Social & Information networks

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