Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon

Sandra González-Bailón, Ph.D.

Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon
  • Associate Professor of Communication

Sandra González-Bailón's research areas include network science, data mining, computational tools, and political communication. Her applied research focuses on the analysis of social media, political protests, mobilization dynamics, information diffusion, and news consumption.

Sandra González-Bailón is an Associate Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, and affiliated faculty at the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences. Prior to joining Penn, she was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute (2008-2013). She completed her doctoral degree in Nuffield College (University of Oxford) and her undergraduate studies at the University of Barcelona.

Her research lies at the intersection of network science, data mining, computational tools, and political communication. Her applied research looks at how online networks shape exposure to information, with implications for how we think about political engagement, mobilization dynamics, information diffusion, and news consumption. A sample of her recent research can be found here.

She is the author of the book Decoding the Social World (MIT Press, 2017) and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Networked Communication (OUP, 2020). She serves as Associate Editor for the journals Social Networks, EPJ Data Science, and The International Journal of Press/Politics, and she is a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science. She leads the research group DiMeNet (/daɪmnet/) — acronym for Digital Media, Networks, and Political Communication.

Her most recent projects include “Digital News and the Consumption of Information Online” (2017-2020, NSF award #1729412) and “Behavioral Effects of Exposure to Political Content in Social Media” (2020-2023, NSF award #2017655).


  • M.S., University of Oxford, 2004
  • Ph.D., University of Oxford, 2007

Selected Publications

“Networks of Audience Overlap in the Consumption of Digital News.” Journal of Communication, 2018.

Decoding the Social World: Data Science and the Unintended Consequences of Communication. MIT Press, 2017.

“The Contagion Effects of Repeated Activation in Social Networks.” Social Networks, 2017.

“Scale, Time, and Activity Patterns: Advanced Methods for the Analysis of Online Networks” in The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods. Sage, 2017.

“The Dynamics of Information-Driven Coordination Phenomena: A Transfer Entropy Analysis.” Science Advances, 2016.

“Networked Discontent. The Anatomy of Protest Campaigns in Social Media.” Social Networks, 2016.

“The Critical Periphery in the Growth of Social Protests.” PLOS ONE, 2015.

“Network Effects in the Academic Market: Mechanisms for Hiring and Placing PhDs in Communication (2007-2014).” Journal of Communication, 2015.

“Signals of Public Opinion in Online Communication: A Comparison of Methods and Data Sources.” ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2015.

“Assessing the Bias in Samples of Large Online Networks.” Social Networks, 2014.

“The Emergence of Roles in Large-Scale Networks of Communication.” EPJ Data Science, 2014.

“Diffusion Dynamics with Changing Network Composition.” Entropy, 2013.

“Online Networks and Bottom Up Politics” in Society and the Internet: How Information and Social Networks are Changing our Lives. Oxford University Press, 2013.

“Big Data and the Fabric of Human Geography.” Dialogues in Human Geography, 2013.

“Social Science in the Era of Big Data.” Policy & Internet, 2013.

“Cascading Behaviour in Complex Socio-Technical Networks.” Journal of Complex Networks, 2013.

“The Effects of Social Interactions on Fertility Decline in Nineteenth-Century France: An Agent-Based Simulation Experiment.” Population Studies, 2013.

“Broadcasters and Hidden Influentials in Online Protest Diffusion.” American Behavioral Scientist, 2013.

“Emotions, Public Opinion, and U.S. Presidential Approval Rates: A 5 Year Analysis of Online Political Discussions.” Human Communication Research, 2012.

“The Dynamics of Protest Recruitment through an Online Network.” Scientific Reports, 2011.

“The Structure of Political Discussion Networks: A Model for the Analysis of Online Deliberation.” Journal of Information Technology, 2010.

“Traps on the Web: the Impact of Economic Resources and Traditional News Media on Online Traffic Flow.” Information, Communication and Society, 2009.

“Opening the Black Box of Link Formation: Social Factors Underlying the Structure of the Web.” Social Networks, 2009.