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Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 2012, Article ID 872908, 11 pages
Research Article

Impact of Bursty Human Activity Patterns on the Popularity of Online Content

1School of Economics and Management, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunication, Beijing 100876, China
2School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA

Received 11 June 2012; Accepted 13 August 2012

Academic Editor: Bo Yang

Copyright © 2012 Qiang Yan and Lianren Wu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The dynamics of online content popularity has attracted more and more researches in recent years. In this paper, we provide a quantitative, temporal analysis about the dynamics of online content popularity in a massive system: Sina Microblog. We use time-stamped data to investigate the impact of bursty human comment patterns on the popularity of online microblog news. Statistical results indicate that the number of news and comments exhibits an exponential growth. The strength of forwarding and comment is characterized by bursts, displaying fat-tailed distribution. In order to characterize the dynamics of popularity, we explore the distribution of the time interval Δ𝑡 between consecutive comment bursts and find that it also follows a power-law. Bursty patterns of human comment are responsible for the power-law decay of popularity. These results are well supported by both the theoretical analysis and empirical data.