J. L. Iribarren and E. Moro
Physical Review Letters 103, 038702 (2009) [pdf]
We study the impact of human activity patterns on information diffusion. To this end we ran a viral email experiment involving 31183 individuals in which we were able to track a speciﬁc piece of information through the social network. We found that, contrary to traditional models, information travels at an unexpectedly slow pace. By using a branching model which accurately describes the experiment, we show that the large heterogeneity found in the response time is responsible for the slow dynamics of information at the collective level. Given the generality of our result, we discuss the important implications of this ﬁnding while modeling human dynamical collective phenomena.
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