Date(s) - 04/28/2021
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Please use this zoom link for the event.

Please join us for a UW Data Science Seminar event on Wednesday, April 28th from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The seminar will feature Yuan Hsiao, PhD candidate (UW Sociology) and Masters student (UW Statistics).

“Evaluating the Mobilization Effect of Online Political Network Structures: A Comparison between the Black Lives Matter Network and Ideal Type Network Configurations”

Abstract: Do online networks encourage political participation? Much research has theorized on how digital networks transmit mobilizing content, fewer studies examine the structure of online networks, and even fewer test how the structure of online networks affects participation for political behaviors with differing costs. From a structural network perspective, I highlight the puzzle: If according to recent literature, digital networks are loose with many weak ties, how can such a network configuration facilitate high-cost political behavior that requires multiple social reinforcements?

To inquire such a puzzle, I map the following relationships among Twitter users who follow the Black Lives Matter Sacramento chapter and compare the structure of the digital network to three commonly observed ideal type networks. The results show that the digital network is structurally distinct from the ideal types, as it is characterized by an extremely dense cluster but also with many loosely connected components, which I describe as a “cluster-connective network.” Results from computer experiments further show that paradoxically, this “cluster-connective” configuration benefits participation for high-cost behavior but hinders participation for low-cost behavior. The results illustrate how a structural network perspective helps scholars move from the question of whether digital networks facilitate participation to the conditions under which digital networks encourage participation.

Biography: Yuan Hsiao is a doctoral candidate in Sociology and Master’s student in Statistics at University of Washington. He is also an incoming assistant professor at the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. His major work explores the intersection of social media, social networks, and political behavior, and has been published in Political Communication, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Networks, New Media & Society, Information, Communication & Society, among other outlets.

The UW Data Science Seminar is an annual lecture series at the University of Washington that hosts scholars working across applied areas of data science, such as the sciences, engineering, humanities and arts along with methodological areas in data science, such as computer science, applied math and statistics. Our presenters come from all domain fields and include occasional external speakers from regional partners, governmental agencies and industry.

All seminars will be hosted virtually for the 2020-2021 academic year, and are free and open to the public.