Do wise crowds have sticky elites? Brown Bag Talk on the Evolution of Leadership on Social Media Knowledge Markets

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wiki8020 pareto rule


Sorin Adam Matei, Associate Professor of Communication, Discovery Park Research Fellow, Cybercenter Director for Research in Computational Social Science

November 13 10:30-11:30 AM Lawson 1142 Brown Bag Lecture

Pareto’s “80/20 rule,” which says that 80% of the output or benefits is produced or enjoyed by 20% of the members of any given group, has increasingly become a source of debate. For example, the top 20% American earners reap 51% of the national personal income.

How uneven is the social media wealth? If Wikipedia were a country and words its currency, how uneven would its “income” distribution be? Would Wikipedia be more egalitarian than the most egalitarian nation, Sweden, or more elitist than the least egalitarian, Lesotho? And more importantly, do the highest content “owners” belong to a stable elite, or do they change all the time?

What can this type of research tell us about nurturing social media engagement and a sense of equity and democracy online?

The lecture will also discuss the development of a massive database of records (250 million editorial instances created by 22 million users over 9 years) at Purdue, which can be used for network analysis by any colleague or graduate student, as well as the possibility of other collaborative projects.

The lecture is organized by the Cyber Center and by the Brian Lamb School of Communication.

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