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#Bigbirds never die: Understanding social dynamics of emergent hashtags

Lin, YR and Margolin, D and Keegan, B and Baronchelli, A and Lazer, D (2013) #Bigbirds never die: Understanding social dynamics of emergent hashtags. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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We examine the growth, survival, and context of 256 novel hashtags during the 2012 U.S. presidential debates. Our analysis reveals the trajectories of hashtag use fall into two distinct classes: "winners" that emerge more quickly and are sustained for longer periods of time than other "also-rans" hashtags. We propose a "conversational vibrancy" framework to capture dynamics of hashtags based on their topicality, interactivity, diversity, and prominence. Statistical analyses of the growth and persistence of hashtags reveal novel relationships between features of this framework and the relative success of hashtags. Specifically, retweets always contribute to faster hashtag adoption, replies extend the life of "winners" while having no effect on "also-rans." This is the first study on the lifecycle of hashtag adoption and use in response to purely exogenous shocks. We draw on theories of uses and gratification, organizational ecology, and language evolution to discuss these findings and their implications for understanding social influence and collective action in social media more generally. Copyright © 2013, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence ( All rights reserved.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lin, YRYURULIN@pitt.eduYURULIN0000-0002-8497-3015
Margolin, D
Keegan, B
Baronchelli, A
Lazer, D
Date: 1 January 2013
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2013
Page Range: 370 - 379
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Information Science
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2014 22:08
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 14:55


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