social_networks   5434

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Social media is a failed experiment – Ben Frain
"I have never met anyone whose life is truly enriched thanks to social media. I’ve met plenty of people whose life seems worse due to it."
twitter  facebook  social_networks 
yesterday by decembr14
Truly, madly, tweetly: Tanya Gold’s other life online | Global | The Guardian
Journalist Tanya Gold has had a serious Facebook and Twitter habit for years. As she scrolls down through thousands of old posts, what does she discover about herself?
social_media  social_networks  twitter  facebook 
7 days ago by cataspanglish
Fragmentation promotes accumulation | Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
"Identifying the determinants of cumulative cultural evolution is a key issue in the interdisciplinary field of cultural evolution. A widely held view is that large and well-connected social networks facilitate cumulative cultural evolution because they promote the spread of useful cultural traits and prevent the loss of cultural knowledge through factors such as drift. This view stems from models that focus on the transmission of cultural information, without considering how new cultural traits actually arise. In this paper, we review the literature from various fields that suggest that, under some circumstances, increased connectedness can decrease cultural diversity and reduce innovation rates. Incorporating this idea into an agent-based model, we explore the effect of population fragmentation on cumulative culture and show that, for a given population size, there exists an intermediate level of population fragmentation that maximizes the rate of cumulative cultural evolution. This result is explained by the fact that fully connected, non-fragmented populations are able to maintain complex cultural traits but produce insufficient variation and so lack the cultural diversity required to produce highly complex cultural traits. Conversely, highly fragmented populations produce a variety of cultural traits but cannot maintain complex ones. In populations with intermediate levels of fragmentation, cultural loss and cultural diversity are balanced in a way that maximizes cultural complexity. Our results suggest that population structure needs to be taken into account when investigating the relationship between demography and cumulative culture."
to:NB  to_read  cultural_evolution  diversity  social_networks  re:democratic_cognition  re:do-institutions-evolve  via:hugo_mercier 
9 days ago by cshalizi
Network Propaganda - Paperback - Yochai Benkler; Robert Faris; Hal Roberts - Oxford University Press
Is social media destroying democracy? Are Russian propaganda or "Fake news" entrepreneurs on Facebook undermining our sense of a shared reality? A conventional wisdom has emerged since the election of Donald Trump in 2016 that new technologies and their manipulation by foreign actors played a decisive role in his victory and are responsible for the sense of a "post-truth" moment in which disinformation and propaganda thrives.

Network Propaganda challenges that received wisdom through the most comprehensive study yet published on media coverage of American presidential politics from the start of the election cycle in April 2015 to the one year anniversary of the Trump presidency. Analysing millions of news stories together with Twitter and Facebook shares, broadcast television and YouTube, the book provides a comprehensive overview of the architecture of contemporary American political communications. Through data analysis and detailed qualitative case studies of coverage of immigration, Clinton scandals, and the Trump Russia investigation, the book finds that the right-wing media ecosystem operates fundamentally differently than the rest of the media environment.

The authors argue that longstanding institutional, political, and cultural patterns in American politics interacted with technological change since the 1970s to create a propaganda feedback loop in American conservative media. This dynamic has marginalized centre-right media and politicians, radicalized the right wing ecosystem, and rendered it susceptible to propaganda efforts, foreign and domestic. For readers outside the United States, the book offers a new perspective and methods for diagnosing the sources of, and potential solutions for, the perceived global crisis of democratic politics.

-- Open Access Title
book  yochai.benkler  misinformation  disinformation  media_studies  social_networks  political_science 
22 days ago by rvenkat
Explicating Top-Down Causation Using Networks and Dynamics | Philosophy of Science: Vol 84, No 2
In many fields in the life sciences investigators refer to downward or top-down causal effects. Craver and I defended the view that such cases should be understood in terms of a constitution relation between levels in a mechanism and intralevel causal relations (occurring at any level). We did not, however, specify when entities constitute a higher-level mechanism. In this article I appeal to graph-theoretic representations of networks, now widely employed in systems biology and neuroscience, and associate mechanisms with modules that exhibit high clustering. As a result of interconnections within clusters, mechanisms often exhibit complex dynamic behaviors that constrain how individual components respond to external inputs, a central feature of top-down causation.
philosophy_of_science  networks  social_networks  dynamics  explanation  causality 
4 weeks ago by rvenkat

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