Is Word Adoption a Grassroots Process? An Analysis of Reddit Communities
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.
KeywordsWord adoption Dispersion Reddit Community organization
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