CFP: Special Issue on Measuring Influence in Social Media

American Behavioral Scientist *

Special Issue on Measuring Influence in Social Media


Anatoliy Gruzd <[email protected]>, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University

Barry Wellman <[email protected]>, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto



The American Behavioral Scientist (ABS) invites submissions for a special issue on Measuring Influence in Social Media. The issue will deal with the notion of ‘influence’ in online and offline social networks with a particular focus on social networks formed and maintained on social media sites. Much of the difficulty in understanding influence in social networks (especially in social media) has to do with the inability to define influence, and then distinguish it from a number of other factors. For example, is it the actual content of a message being exchanged that exerts the most influence on users? In other words, can user-behavior within social media networks be explained in terms of users seeking useful information for some discrete and identifiable purpose? Or, conversely, is it the nature and/or context of the relationship between exchanging actors that exerts influence on user behaviors? That is, can user-behavior be explained in terms of users being influenced by celebrity or prestige, for example? Questions like these will be at the center of this special issue.

One of the primary goals of this special issue is to provide a common platform where best practices and cutting edge practical and theoretical frameworks related to the study of influence in social media can be accessed and utilized by all concerned parties. The issue would become a useful index for current methodologies for evaluating the influence and effectiveness of the activities of individuals and organizations on social media, and would provide a framework that other researchers can use and build on in the future.


Intended audience

The target audience for this issue would include scholars, students and business leaders who focus on social media and online social networks. The interdisciplinary and cross-sector audience of the proposed special issue will ensure that diverse perspectives on, and attitudes towards, social media and networking will be considered. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches are all welcome.

Possible Topics

Manuscripts that would be of particular interest include:

  • a review of how this field has evolved over the last ten years, accounting for influences from other disciplines and covering some of the uses to which this kind of research has been applied in the past,
  • a discussion of common theories and methods used (or that can be used and how) to study ‘influence’ in social media including qualitative approaches, social network analysis, opinion mining, etc.,
  • a discussion of potential roles and impacts this field of research may hold for academic, business, political, and other socio-economic spheres,
  • case studies focusing on measuring ‘influence’ in social media in the areas such as Internet and Society, Political Mobilization & Engagement, Trust, Online and Offline Communities, and related areas,
  • methodological articles that examine the difficulties of measuring influence in social media.

Examples of some potential research questions that the manuscripts in this issue will cover include the following:

  • How do we define ‘influence’ in social media and why is it important?
  • How do we determine who are the influential members in an online community?
  • To what extent does ‘influence’ in one social media platform translate into ‘influence’ on another?
  • How to engender trust and/or detect falsehood in social media?
  • Do social media affect the political processes and how?
  • How do we reliably assess the impact of social influence occurring on social media platforms in offline networks?



November 2012 – CFP is out

April 30, 2013 – Submissions are due

July 1, 2013 – Reviews are due

September 15, 2013 – Revisions are due

2014 – Publication


Submission guidelines

  • Manuscripts should be submitted via EasyChair at
  • Submitted manuscripts must be in PDF format
  • Manuscripts should be between 5,000 and 6,500 words.
  • Manuscript should follow APA style guidelines.
  • Manuscripts should contain original material and not be previously published or currently submitted for consideration elsewhere.
  • The refereeing process is blind, so any obvious indications of authorship should be removed.
  • Manuscripts should include the title of the paper and a 250 word abstract, but NOT the names of the author(s).


 If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd at [email protected]

About the Editors

Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information Management, Director of the Social Media Lab at the Faculty of Management and cross-appointed to the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University, Canada. Dr. Gruzd’s research initiatives explore how social media and other web 2.0 technologies are changing the ways in which people communicate and disseminate information and how these changes are impacting and reshaping the norms and structures of our modern society. Dr. Gruzd is also actively developing and testing new web tools and apps for discovering and visualizing information and online social networks. The broad aim of his various research initiatives is to provide decision makers with additional knowledge and insights into the behaviors and relationships of online network members, and to understand how these interpersonal connections influence our personal choices and actions.


Dr. Barry Wellman founded the International Network for Social Network Analysis in 1976. A member of the Royal Society of Canada, Wellman has headed two American Sociological Association sections: Community and Communications/Information Technologies, as well as the Sociological Research Association honor society. Wellman is the S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology and directs NetLab at the University of Toronto. Recently, Dr. Wellman co-authored Networked: The New Social Operating System (2012 MIT Press) with Lee Raine.


[*] About the journal: American Behavioral Scientist (ABS) is peer-reviewed and published monthly. For over 50 years, ABS has been a valuable source of information for scholars, researchers, professionals, and students, providing in-depth perspectives on intriguing contemporary topics throughout the social and behavioral sciences. Each issue offers comprehensive analysis of a single topic, examining such important and diverse arenas as sociology, politics, behavioral sciences, communication and media, economics, education, ethnic and racial studies, terrorism, and public service. The journal’s interdisciplinary approach stimulates creativity and occasionally, controversy within the emerging frontiers of the social sciences, exploring the critical issues that affect our world and challenge our thinking.