The Emergence of Roles in Large-Scale Networks of Communication

38 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014 Last revised: 14 Sep 2014

See all articles by Sandra González-Bailón

Sandra González-Bailón

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication

Ning Wang

University of Oxford - Mathematical Institute; University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Javier Borge-Holthoefer

Qatar Computing Research Institute

Date Written: April 10, 2014

Abstract

Communication through social media mediates coordination and information diffusion across a range of social settings. However, online networks are large and complex, and their analysis requires new methods to summarize their structure and identify nodes holding relevant positions. We propose a method that generalizes the sociological theory of brokerage, originally devised on the basis of local transitivity and paths of length two, to make it applicable to larger, more complex structures. Our method makes use of the modular structure of networks to define brokerage at the local and global levels. We test the method with two different data sets. The findings show that our approach is better at capturing role differences than alternative approaches that only consider local or global network features.

Keywords: modularity, bridges, structural holes, structural equivalence, online networks

Suggested Citation

González-Bailón, Sandra and Wang, Ning and Borge-Holthoefer, Javier, The Emergence of Roles in Large-Scale Networks of Communication (April 10, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2485925 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2485925

Sandra González-Bailón (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://dimenet.asc.upenn.edu/people/sgonzalezbailon/

Ning Wang

University of Oxford - Mathematical Institute ( email )

Mathematical Institute
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6GG
United Kingdom

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Javier Borge-Holthoefer

Qatar Computing Research Institute ( email )

Tornado Tower
13th Floor
Doha, 5825
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