Focusing on a polarized issue—U.S. gun violence—this study examines agenda setting as an antecedent of political expression on social media. A state-of-the-art machine-learning model was used to analyze news coverage from 25 media outlets—mainstream and partisan. Those results were paired with a two-wave panel survey conducted during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Findings show mainstream media shape public opinion about gun violence, which then stimulates expression about the issue on social media. The study also reveals that partisan media’s gun violence coverage has significant cross-cutting effects. Notably, exposure to conservative media will decrease public salience of gun violence, pivot opinion in a more conservative direction, and discourage social media expression; and all of these effects are stronger among liberals.
We propose a new way of imagining and measuring opinions emerging from social media. As people tend to connect with like-minded others and express opinions in response to current events on social media, social media public opinion is naturally occurring, temporally sensitive, and inherently social. Our framework for measuring social media public opinion first samples targeted nodes from a large social graph and identifies homogeneous, interactive, and stable networks of actors, which we call “flocks,” based on social network structure, and then measures and presents opinions of flocks. We apply this framework to Twitter and provide empirical evidence for flocks being meaningful units of analysis and flock membership predicting opinion expression. Through contextualizing social media public opinion by foregrounding the various homogeneous networks it is embedded in, we highlight the need to go beyond the aggregate-level measurement of social media public opinion and study the social dynamics of opinion expression using social media.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Oxford University Press
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Individuals who interact with each other in social networks often exchange ideas and influence each other’s opinions. A popular approach to study the spread of opinions on networks is by examining bounded-confidence models (BCMs), in which the nodes of a network have continuous-valued states that encode their opinions and are receptive to other nodes’ opinions when they lie within some confidence bound of their own opinion. In this article, we extend the Deffuant–Weisbuch (DW) model, which is a well-known BCM, by examining the spread of opinions that coevolve with network structure. We propose an adaptive variant of the DW model in which the nodes of a network can (1) alter their opinions when they interact with neighbouring nodes and (2) break connections with neighbours based on an opinion tolerance threshold and then form new connections following the principle of homophily. This opinion tolerance threshold determines whether or not the opinions of adjacent nodes are sufficiently different to be viewed as ‘discordant’. Using numerical simulations, we find that our adaptive DW model requires a larger confidence bound than a baseline DW model for the nodes of a network to achieve a consensus opinion. In one region of parameter space, we observe ‘pseudo-consensus’ steady states, in which there exist multiple subclusters of an opinion cluster with opinions that differ from each other by a small amount. In our simulations, we also examine the roles of early-time dynamics and nodes with initially moderate opinions for achieving consensus. Additionally, we explore the effects of coevolution on the convergence time of our BCM.
Social media data (SMD) offer researchers new opportunities to leverage those data for their work in broad areas such as public opinion, digital culture, labor trends, and public health. The success of efforts to save SMD for reuse by researchers will depend on aligning data management and archiving practices with evolving norms around the capture, use, sharing, and security of datasets. This paper presents an initial foray into understanding how established practices for managing and preserving data should adapt to demands from researchers who use and reuse SMD, and from people who are subjects in SMD. We examine the data management practices of researchers who use SMD through a survey, and we analyze published articles that used data from Twitter. We discuss how researchers describe their data management practices and how these practices may differ from the management of conventional data types. We explore conceptual, technical, and ethical challenges for data archives based on the similarities and differences between SMD and other types of research data, focusing on the social sciences. Finally, we suggest areas where archives may need to revise policies, practices, and services in order to create secure, persistent, and usable collections of SMD.
Understanding the societal impacts caused by community disruptions (e.g., power outages and road closures), particularly during the response stage, with timeliness and sufficient detail is an underexplored, yet important, consideration. It is critical for effective decision‐making and coordination in disaster response and relief activities as well as post‐disaster virtual reconnaissance activities. This study proposes a semiautomated social media analytics approach for social sensing of Disaster Impacts and Societal Considerations (SocialDISC). This approach addresses two limitations of existing social media analytics approaches: lacking adaptability to the need of different analyzers or different disasters and missing the information related to subjective feelings, emotions, and opinions of the people. SocialDISC labels and clusters social media posts in each disruption category to facilitate scanning by analyzers. Analyzers, in this paper, are persons who acquire social impact information from social media data (e.g., infrastructure management personnel, volunteers, researchers from academia, and some residents impacted by the disaster). Furthermore, SocialDISC enables analyzers to quickly parse topics and emotion signals of each subevent to assess the societal impacts caused by disruption events. To demonstrate the performance of SocialDISC, the authors proposed a case study based on Hurricane Harvey, one of the costliest disasters in U.S. history, and analyzed the disruptions and corresponding societal impacts in different aspects. The analysis result shows that Houstonians suffered greatly from flooded houses, lack of access to food and water, and power outages. SocialDISC can foster an understanding of the relationship between disruptions of infrastructures and societal impacts, expectations of the public when facing disasters, and infrastructure interdependency and cascading failures. SocialDISC's provision of timely information about the societal impacts of people may help disaster response decision‐making.
The social media have been increasingly used for disaster management (DM) via providing real time data on a broad scale. For example, some smartphone applications (e.g. Disaster Alert and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) App) can be used to increase the efficiency of prepositioning supplies and to enhance the effectiveness of disaster relief efforts. To maximize utilities of these apps, it is imperative to have robust human behavior models in social networks with detailed expressions of individual decision-making processes and of the interactions among people. In this paper, we introduce a hierarchical human behavior model by associating extended Decision Field Theory (e-DFT) with the opinion formation and innovation diffusion models. Particularly, its expressiveness and validity are addressed in three ways. First, we estimate individual’s choice patterns in social networks by deriving people’s asymptotic choice probabilities within e-DFT. Second, by analyzing opinion formation models and innovation diffusion models in different types of social networks, the effects of neighbor’s opinions on people and their interactions are demonstrated. Finally, an agent-based simulation is used to trace agents’ dynamic behaviors in different scenarios. The simulated results reveal that the proposed models can be used to establish better disaster management strategies in natural disasters.more » « less