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Information flow in social groups


  • Wu, Fang
  • Huberman, Bernardo A.
  • Adamic, Lada A.
  • Tyler, Joshua R.


We present a study of information flow that takes into account the observation that an item relevant to one person is more likely to be of interest to individuals in the same social circle than those outside of it. This is due to the fact that the similarity of node attributes in social networks decreases as a function of the graph distance. An epidemic model on a scale-free network with this property has a finite threshold, implying that the spread of information is limited. We tested our predictions by measuring the spread of messages in an organization and also by numerical experiments that take into consideration the organizational distance among individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Wu, Fang & Huberman, Bernardo A. & Adamic, Lada A. & Tyler, Joshua R., 2004. "Information flow in social groups," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 337(1), pages 327-335.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:337:y:2004:i:1:p:327-335
    DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2004.01.030

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhu, Zhiguo, 2013. "Discovering the influential users oriented to viral marketing based on online social networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(16), pages 3459-3469.
    2. Chen, Yenming & Wu, Tien-Hua, 2010. "The diffusion dynamics of the informal sector and sustainable WEEE supply chain," MPRA Paper 25650, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Sinan Aral & Dylan Walker, 2011. "Creating Social Contagion Through Viral Product Design: A Randomized Trial of Peer Influence in Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(9), pages 1623-1639, February.
    4. Deffuant, Guillaume & Huet, Sylvie, 2007. "Propagation effects of filtering incongruent information," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 816-825, August.
    5. Kibae Kim & Jörn Altmann, 2015. "Effect of Homophily on Network Evolution," TEMEP Discussion Papers 2015121, Seoul National University; Technology Management, Economics, and Policy Program (TEMEP), revised Mar 2017.
    6. repec:eee:apmaco:v:289:y:2016:i:c:p:388-395 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Guimera, R. & Danon, L. & Diaz-Guilera, A. & Giralt, F. & Arenas, A., 2006. "The real communication network behind the formal chart: Community structure in organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 653-667, December.
    8. Massimiliano Zanin & David Papo & Miguel Romance & Regino Criado & Santiago Moral, 2016. "The topology of card transaction money flows," Papers 1605.04938,
    9. Roth, Camille, 2007. "Empiricism for descriptive social network models," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 378(1), pages 53-58.
    10. Ozsoylev, Han N. & Walden, Johan, 2011. "Asset pricing in large information networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(6), pages 2252-2280.
    11. Santiago, A. & Benito, R.M., 2008. "Connectivity degrees in the threshold preferential attachment model," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 387(10), pages 2365-2376.
    12. repec:eee:phsmap:v:490:y:2018:i:c:p:573-583 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Mehmet Ali Koseoglu, 2016. "Mapping the institutional collaboration network of strategic management research: 1980–2014," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(1), pages 203-226, October.
    14. Zanin, Massimiliano & Papo, David & Romance, Miguel & Criado, Regino & Moral, Santiago, 2016. "The topology of card transaction money flows," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 462(C), pages 134-140.
    15. Jayaram Uparna & Klaus Weber, 2016. "When Is The Next Bus?: Influence Of Mobility And Infrastructure On Entrepreneurship In Rural India," Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (JDE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 21(02), pages 1-17, June.


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