Is Word Adoption a Grassroots Process? An Analysis of Reddit Communities

  • Jeremy R. ColeEmail author
  • Moojan Ghafurian
  • David Reitter
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10354)


This study examines how novel words originate in and disperse through online communities. It asks whether larger numbers of people or closer social ties are better environments to foster the adoption of new words. The data stem from Reddit, a large sample of web-mediated, asynchronous conversations. Reddit communities are divided by size in this study: larger communities are based on discussing general topics and have weak social ties, whereas small communities are based on discussing specific topics and have strong social ties. The analysis shows that the majority of new words are created/first adopted in larger communities.


Word adoption Dispersion Reddit Community organization 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy R. Cole
    • 1
    Email author
  • Moojan Ghafurian
    • 1
  • David Reitter
    • 1
  1. 1.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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