Why is tumblr like ancient Egypt? How do you recognise if a twitter user is part of a specific tribe? Will edit wars on Wikipedia end in peace deals or carry on forever? And why have some social networks turned into ghost towns?
All these questions and more are addressed in my feature on the cultural evolution of online social networks, which is out now in Current Biology:
What makes people click?
Current Biology, Volume 23, Issue 7, R255-R258, 8 April 2013
Free access to
Twitter users grouped into tribes, annotated with words typically used by each group. Graphic: John Bryden, Sebastian Funk and Vincent Jansen