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Article of Volume 9, Issue 4, December 2014

“Newbies” and “Celebrities”: Detecting social roles in an online network of teachers via participation patterns

Authors: H. Smith Risser, SueAnn Bottoms, Yawen Yu

Abstract: The advent of social networking tools allows teachers to create online networks and share information. While some virtual networks have a formal structure and defined boundaries, many do not. These unstructured virtual networks are difficult to study because they lack defined boundaries and a formal structure governing leadership roles and the transfer of information. The purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between how a member participates in a virtual blog network and the role of that member in the network. Unlike previous studies that use behavioral or structural characteristics of an individual’s network to infer social roles, this study utilized cluster analysis to combine behavior and structural information in role detection. Quantitative methods from social network analysis were used to compare the network structure of individual bloggers both across and within groups. The results indicate that how an individual participates in the network has an influence not only on their current role in the network, but also in how and how quickly their role in the community changes.

Keywords: Blog communities, Participation, K-12 Teachers

Citation: Smith Risser, H., Bottoms, S., & Yu, Y. (2014) “Newbies” and “Celebrities”: Detecting social roles in an online network of teachers via participation patterns. ijcscl 9 (4), pp. 433-450

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-014-9197-4

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF risser_bottoms_9_4.pdf

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