Your social connections.
Real-Life Social Networks
Structural holes and structural folds. Overlap is more important than bridging.
Strong vs weak ties.
- Predicting the strength of ties through social media
- Measuring User Influence in Twitter: The Million Follower Fallacy
- Location determines social network influence
How do things propagate through networks virally?
Work by Stanley Milgram (popularized by Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point) suggests that a few key "Influentials" (highly-connected people) are responsible for spreading these trends. Duncan Watts has debunked this notion. (Maksim Kitsak has published similar results.) He suggests that there are many factors in how things propagate, and that randomness plays an important part. If you believe this, then the best way to spread ideas virally are to 1. mass market them to increase the possibility that someone influential will see them; and 2. make the propagation a participatory process, like a game (see Visible Pulse).
Do social networks decrease isolation? One study suggests that, ironically, loneliness propagates through social networks. This and other information is in Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler's book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. (Another review of the book.)
See Cooperation Theory for more on how behavior propagates through social networks.
- "Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Unless Everyone Else is Doing it Too: Social Network Effects on Divorce in a Longitudinal Sample Followed for 32 Years." By Rose McDermott, Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler.
- "Friend Turnover"
- "Chinese Social Networks 'Virtually' Out-Earn Facebook and MySpace: A Market Analysis." (TechCrunch, April 5, 2009). Tweeted by Kermit Snelson.
- "Facebook's 'In-House Sociologist' Shares Stats on Users' Social Behavior." (February 27, 2009)