Spatial influence vs. community influence Conference Paper uri icon


  • In this paper we seek to understand and model the global spread of social media. How does social media spread from location to location across the globe? Can we model this spread and predict where social media will be popular in the future? Toward answering these questions, we develop a probabilistic model that synthesizes two conflicting hypotheses about the nature of online information spread: (i) the spatial influence model, which asserts that social media spreads to locations that are close by; and (ii) the community affinity influence model, which asserts that social media spreads between locations that are culturally connected, even if they are distant. Based on the geospatial footprint of 755 million geo-tagged hashtags spread through Twitter, we evaluate these models at predicting locations that will adopt hashtags in the future. We find that distance is the single most important explanation of future hashtag adoption since hashtags are fundamentally local. We also find that community affinities (like culture, language, and common interests) enhance the quality of purely spatial models, indicating the necessity of incorporating non-spatial features into models of global social media spread. © 2012 ACM.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kamath, K. Y., Caverlee, J., Cheng, Z., & Sui, D. Z.

citation count

  • 15

editor list (cited editors)

  • Chen, X., Lebanon, G., Wang, H., & Zaki, M. J.

publication date

  • January 2012