publication . Article . Preprint . 2016

Dynamics and biases of online attention: the case of aircraft crashes

Ruth García-Gavilanes; Milena Tsvetkova; Taha Yasseri;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Jan 2016
  • Publisher: Royal Society
  • Country: United Kingdom
The Internet not only has changed the dynamics of our collective attention, but also through the transactional log of online activities, provides us with the opportunity to study attention dynamics at scale. In this paper, we particularly study attention to aircraft incidents and accidents using Wikipedia transactional data in two different language editions, English and Spanish. We study both the editorial activities on and the viewership of the articles about airline crashes. We analyse how the level of attention is influenced by different parameters such as number of deaths, airline region, and event locale and date. We find evidence that the attention given by Wikipedia editors to pre-Wikipedia aircraft incidents and accidents depends on the region of the airline for both English and Spanish editions. North American airline companies receive more prompt coverage in English Wikipedia. We also observe that the attention given by Wikipedia visitors is influenced by the airline region but only for events with high number of deaths. Finally we show that the rate and time span of the decay of attention is independent of the number of deaths and a fast decay within about a week seems to be universal. We discuss the implications of these findings in the context of attention bias.
Comment: Accepted for publication in Royal Society Open Science
Fields of Science and Technology classification (FOS)
03 medical and health sciences, 0301 basic medicine, 030104 developmental biology, 0302 clinical medicine, 030217 neurology & neurosurgery
free text keywords: H Social Sciences (General), Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph), Computers and Society (cs.CY), Social and Information Networks (cs.SI), Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability (, FOS: Physical sciences, FOS: Computer and information sciences, Multidisciplinary, 1009, 194, 1003, 104, 1001, 14, Physics, Research Article, collective attention, Wikipedia, attention economy, aircraft crash, media biases, media coverage, Physics - Physics and Society, Computer Science - Computers and Society, Computer Science - Social and Information Networks, Physics - Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability, Attention economy, Advertising, Poison control, Audience measurement, Context (language use), Transactional leadership, The Internet, business.industry, business, History, Scale (social sciences), Transaction data, lcsh:Science, lcsh:Q
  • Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
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