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Variations in power of opinion leaders in online communication networks
COSMOSE Research Group, Department of Computer Science, COMSATS University Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan.
COSMOSE Research Group, Department of Computer Science, COMSATS University Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Computer Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1902-9877
2018 (English)In: Royal Society Open Science, E-ISSN 2054-5703, Vol. 5, no 10, article id 180642Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Online social media has completely transformed how we communicate with each other. While online discussion platforms are available in the form of applications and websites, an emergent outcome of this transformation is the phenomenon of ‘opinion leaders’. A number of previous studies have been presented to identify opinion leaders in online discussion networks. In particular, Feng (2016 Comput. Hum. Behav. 54, 43–53. (doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.07.052)) has identified five different types of central users besides outlining their communication patterns in an online communication network. However, the presented work focuses on a limited time span. The question remains as to whether similar communication patterns exist that will stand the test of time over longer periods. Here, we present a critical analysis of the Feng framework both for short-term as well as for longer periods. Additionally, for validation, we take another case study presented by Udanor et al. (2016 Program 50, 481–507. (doi:10.1108/PROG-02-2016-0011)) to further understand these dynamics. Results indicate that not all Feng-based central users may be identifiable in the longer term. Conversation starter and influencers were noted as opinion leaders in the network. These users play an important role as information sources in long-term discussions. Whereas network builder and active engager help in connecting otherwise sparse communities. Furthermore, we discuss the changing positions of opinion leaders and their power to keep isolates interested in an online discussion network.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Royal Society Publishing , 2018. Vol. 5, no 10, article id 180642
Keywords [en]
complex networks, social network analysis, Panama papers, opinion formation, complex adaptive system, Panama leaks
National Category
Media and Communication Technology
Research subject
Pervasive Mobile Computing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-71808DOI: 10.1098/rsos.180642ISI: 000451073300025PubMedID: 30473819Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85056759694OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-71808DiVA, id: diva2:1266717
Note

Validerad;2018;Nivå 2;2018-11-29 (johcin)

Available from: 2018-11-29 Created: 2018-11-29 Last updated: 2018-12-10Bibliographically approved

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Vasilakos, Athanasios

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