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How information spreads on social networks when unexpected events occur

Presentation for Data, Fact-Finding and Breaking News session at International Journalism Festival in Perugia, 2014.

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How information spreads on social networks when unexpected events occur

  1. 1. How information spreads on social networks when unexpected events occur Farida Vis | Information School | University of Sheffield @flygirltwo
  2. 2. Social Flow In the know + ’gatekeepers’ Right conditions
  3. 3. Social Reading the Riots, 2011 Social Users debunking rumours
  4. 4. Social dynamics of virality (Face, How stuff spreads) TRIGGER: A higher than average emotional response to the content triggers an impulse to share. VALIDATION: The impulse to share gets then validated against the community the user is part of. This validation happens both in terms of topicality (is this of interest to my audience?) and timing (has anyone else already shared this within my circles?). ESCALATION: The gatekeepers (e.g. media channels, celebrities etc) share the meme helping it reach the tipping point within a specific community. The tipping point is when every member of the community is likely to receive the meme from another member of the community.
  5. 5. Mapping local users
  6. 6. Boston
  7. 7. ‘The point is, perhaps that Twitter for a news-gatherer – in my experience – has very often become the “canary down the mine”. It senses the gas leak first, mostly correctly. And then it dies. It is a signal. A switch. A warning light that only does one job. And then, it becomes largely useless.’ Simon Ricketts, ‘How the Boston Marathon explosions reveal the two sides of Twitter’, Guardian, 16 April 2013.
  8. 8. Image sharing practices during crises: fakes
  9. 9. #FakeSandy pics 250,000 tweets (4hrs) 1 weekend
  10. 10. ‘fakes’ What is shared by locals vs wider social media audiences/users? Where in the ‘long tail’ might we find useful information? Most visible most≠ valuable
  11. 11. Oxford Internet Survey Flow
  12. 12. Face’s work on ‘how stuff spreads’ - Social Flow’s work on spread of Bin Laden tweet - laden-visualizing-the-power-of-a-single Vis, F. (2014), ‘Hard Evidence: how does false information spread online?’ The Conversation, 16 April, 2014. Available from: 25567 Vis, F. (2013), ‘Top 10 trends of 2014: 10. The rapid spread of misinformation online’, Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014, World Economic Forum. Available from: trends-category-page/10-the-rapid-spread-of-misinformation-online/ Burgess, J., Vis, F., & Bruns, A. (2012), ‘How many fake Sandy pictures were really shared on social media?’ The Guardian Data Blog, 6 November. Available from: Farida Vis @flygirltwo