The emergence of roles in large-scale networks of communication

Sandra González-Bailón, Ning Wang, Javier Borge-Holthoefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Communication through social media mediates coordination and information diffusion across a range of social settings. However, online networks are large and complex, and their analysis requires new methods to summarize their structure and identify nodes holding relevant positions. We propose a method that generalizes the sociological theory of brokerage, originally devised on the basis of local transitivity and paths of length two, to make it applicable to larger, more complex structures. Our method makes use of the modular structure of networks to define brokerage at the local and global levels. We test the method with two different data sets. The findings show that our approach is better at capturing role differences than alternative approaches that only consider local or global network features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEPJ Data Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Bridges
  • Modularity
  • Online networks
  • Structural holes
  • Structural similarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Modelling and Simulation

Cite this