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date: 19 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article introduces the first section of The Oxford Handbook of Networked Communication. The volume marks the twentieth anniversary of the second golden age in the study of networks and information flow. The first golden age began shortly after World War II and focused on the canonical bookends of broadcast and social networks as drivers of information flow. The second golden age is marked by a change in the phenomenon under study, with a profusion and confusion of broadcast and network drivers of information flow, in which everyone is a broadcaster, and all broadcasters are also nodes in the network. As a science, the second golden age is marked by a shift from the behavioral methods of the first golden age to computational approaches to big data. The chapters in this section illuminate the emerging scientific opportunities, from our changing understanding of network dynamics and diffusion to computational approaches to studying content and social media.

Keywords: big data, computational social science, social media, networks, diffusion

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