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Tracking Critical-Mass Outbreaks in Social Contagions

PI: Michael Macy, Cornell University

Year selected for award: 2014

Project Title: Tracking Critical-Mass Outbreaks in Social Contagions

Principal Investigator: Michael Macy, Cornell University

Co-Investigators: Vladimir Barash, John Kelly, Aurora Schmidt, and Clay Fink

Years of Award: 2014-2017

Managing Service Agency: Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Project Description:
Developed theory, methods and tools to track and predict social movement mobilization using the critical mass model of social contagions to enable scholars and policy makers to anticipate offline viral phenomena from their online statistical signatures.

Under this grant we investigated whether the phenomena of complex contagion in online social networks: in our case, Twitter. Social networking sites (SNS) like Twitter expose “digital traces” of human behavior (Lazer, 2009) at scale and provide us the opportunity to test social science theories outside the bounds of traditional approaches involving laboratory experiments and surveys.

Select Publications:
Berry, George, Christopher J. Cameron, Patrick Park, and Michael Macy. 2019. "The Opacity Problem In Social Contagion". Social Networks 56: 93-101.
Berry, George, Christopher J. Cameron, Patrick Park, and Michael Macy. 2018. “Using Spectral Clustering of Hashtag Adoptions to Find Interest-Based Communities”. IEEE International Conference on Communications.
Fink, Clay, Aurora Schmidt, Vladimir Barash, Christopher Cameron, and Michael Macy. 2015. "Complex Contagions And The Diffusion Of Popular Twitter Hashtags In Nigeria". Social Network Analysis And Mining 6 (1).
Fink, Clay, Aurora Schmidt, Vladimir Barash, John Kelly, Christopher Cameron, and Michael Macy. 2016. "Investigating The Observability Of Complex Contagion In Empirical Social Networks". In Tenth International AAAI Conference On Web And Social Media, 121-130. Menlo Park: CA: AAAI.
Vladimir Barash, Clayton Fink, Aurora Schmidt, Christopher Cameron, Wei Dong, Michael Macy, and John Kelly. “A Twitter Social Contagion Monitor.” Submitted to ICWSM-2018.