Analytic Investigation of a Structural Differentiation Model for Social Media Production Groups
In the previous chapters, we articulated the role of evolutionary processes on Wikipedia and similar social media production sites and then outlined the main reasoning behind using entropy as a measure of structuration. The main claim is that, just like many of self-organizing voluntary organizations, online social groups need to overcome the increasing costs of communication and coordination as they continue to grow and evolve, which they do via the emergence of leading contributors who work substantially more than their peers. In this chapter, we will look at the contours of leadership groups and at their temporal persistence, or stickiness, the latter of which we will assess via their turnover. We will further analyze the relationship between the evolution of group structuration (entropy) and elite stickiness in order to elucidate the role of elites in relation to the larger organization. Finally, we will examine the factors that explain how individuals advance to elite status, thereby adding a microlevel perspective to the meso- and macro-level dynamics under study.
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