Modeling the social media information network across space


Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 12:00pm


Room S050. Concourse level, CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA. And broadcast live via Zoom.

Presentation by Dr. Yilan Xu, University of Illinois.

View the presentation slides | View the presentation recording 

Talk Abstract: This paper takes a data-driven approach to model how social media information diffuses over geographic space to form an information network. Using an innovative variance decomposition of the vector autoregression model (Diebold & Yilmaz, 2009, 2012, 2014) and Hurricane Ida as a case study, we construct a weighted and directed climate disaster information network on Twitter described by an information network adjacency matrix. We further analyze the relative importance of disaster-specific factors, demographics, and pre-existing social networks in explaining the climate disaster information generation and diffusion. We also compare the Twitter information network structure to several social network structures including friendship, mobility, and migration. Our analytical framework can be directly applied to analyze information transmission of other topics on Twitter (e.g., science and public health communication). The online network structure can be linked to offline behaviors to understand social learning in a human network.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Yilan Xu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her fields of interest include consumer economics and finance, urban economics, and environmental economics. Her current research explores the social network connections between regions, such as friendship, social media information, travel flows, transportation, trade, and atmospheric movement, and how these social networks mediate the spillover effects of regional events. Her research findings can be leveraged to monitor potential systemic risks and to formulate strategies to enhance our society's resilience to crises such as climate change and pandemics. Dr. Xu has published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Journal of Economic Geography, Journal of Consumer Affairs, and Social Science and Medicine. She is the President-elect of the American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI).

Lunch will be served for those in attendance.  To join remotely, click here to register.  Once registered you'll receive a Zoom link to join the meeting.