Evolution through bursts: Network structure develops through localized bursts in time and space

Hilla Brot, Lev Muchnik, Jacob Goldenberg, Yoram Louzoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Models of network evolution are based on the implicit assumption that network growth is continuous, uniform, and steady. Using the data collected from a large online-blogging platform, we show that the addition and removal of network ties by users do not occur sporadically at isolated nodes spread all over the network, as assumed by the vast majority of stochastic network models, but rather occur in brief bursts of intense local activity. These bursts of network growth and attrition (addition and removal of network ties) are highly localized around focal nodes. Such network changes coincide with nearly instantaneous densification of the ties between the affected nodes, resulting in an increase of local clustering. Furthermore, we find that these network changes are tightly coupled to the dynamics of individual attributes, particularly the increase in homology between neighboring nodes (homophily) within the scope of the burst. Coincidence of the localized network change with the increase in homophily suggests a strong coupling between the selection and influence processes that lead to simultaneous elevation of assortativity and clustering.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)293-313
Number of pages21
JournalNetwork Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Cambridge University Press.


  • Homophily
  • LiveJournal
  • bursts
  • coupling
  • feedback
  • individual traits
  • network dynamics
  • simultaneous events
  • triadic closure


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