Here at the International Centre for Security Analysis we are interested in developments in social media and how we can understand social networks as valuable information sources. We produced a report on this topic: A Structural Analysis of Social Media Networks which is designed to be a reference guide for analysts and policy-makers. We also produced a podcast where we discussed the concepts in the report in more detail.
One of the most interesting features of social networks is their role in facilitating the emergence of communities. In the report we draw a comparison between Facebook and Reddit on the one hand and Twitter and Instagram on the other. Facebook with its group function and Reddit with its subreddits both have dedicated site structures for communities to form. In contrast, Twitter and Instagram have no formal group structures built into their sites and yet we see large, cohesive and resilient communities on those platforms. How do these communities form and how do they survive?