The exponential growth in social networking has given researchers an interesting new context for studying human interaction and behavior.  This plethora of Internet-based social media requires a robust network, something Calit2 affiliate and sociology associate professor Carter Butts wants to better understand.  He and a student researcher studied how behaviors cause fluctuations in blog networks.  The team used the 2004 Presidential election period to analyze blog-to-blog citation networks in more than 1,800 English-language blogs. 

The somewhat surprising results showed that blog networks were impacted not only by specific events in the election cycle, but by natural rhythms as well. Researchers discovered a routine fluctuation from day to night, and a weekly cycle, during which more network changes occurred on certain days of the week, regardless of whether specific events had occurred in that timeframe.

“It appears there are certain times of day or days of the week that may be ideal for using social networks to spread information or to slow the process down,” says Butts. 

The study appeared late last year in the Journal of Social Structure.

--Calit2 Communications

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