NECSI has its finger on the pulse of social networks, tracking sentiment in real time mapping news-sharing, and studying their dynamics and their roles in societal movements.
Why have social media sites like Twitter and Facebook become so popular? Facebook, as the internet’s second most popular web site, seems to be catching up to search giant Google. Researchers at NECSI explain that as the internet grows to contain more and more information, our approach to finding the information we want is naturally shifting to resemble another complex system – the human brain.
When the internet was new and did not have as much on it, searches made sense for most purposes. Now, the internet contains huge amounts of rapidly changing information. So our society is shifting from searching to identifying and following people whose information picks work for us through Tweets, Shares, Likes, and other ways of highlighting material. This information sharing is similar to the human brain, in which each neuron receives and sends signals from and to particular other neurons.
NECSI research has demonstrated how social media sites can serve as maps of our societies, not by capturing social relationships but by describing information flows that people use to function and make society work.
Vincent Wong and Yaneer Bar-Yam, How do people differ? A social media approach, arXiv:1708.02900 (August 9, 2017).
Alfredo J. Morales, Vaibhav Vavilala, Rosa M. Benito, and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Global patterns of synchronization in human communications, Journal of the Royal Society Interface (March 1, 2017), doi: 10.1098/rsif.2016.1048.
Urbano França, Hiroki Sayama, Colin McSwiggen, Roozbeh Daneshvar, and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Visualizing the “heartbeat” of a city with tweets, Complexity (April 21, 2015).
Julius Adebayo, Tiziana Musso, Kawandeep Virdee, Casey Friedman, and Yaneer Bar-Yam, An exploration of social identity: The structure of the BBC news-sharing community on Twitter, Complexity 19(5): 55-63 (2014).
Karla Z. Bertrand, Maya Bialik, Kawandeep Virdee, Andreas Gros, and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Sentiment in New York City: A high resolution spatial and temporal view, arXiv:1308.5010 (August 20, 2013).
Amaç Herdağdelen, Wenyun Zuo, Alexander S. Gard-Murray, and Yaneer Bar-Yam, An exploration of social identity: The geography and politics of news-sharing communities in Twitter, Complexity 19: 10-20 (2013).
Yaneer Bar-Yam, The transition from search to social media: The future of information networks, NECSI Report 04-01-2011 (April 5, 2011).