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Social Media Experiments

I enjoyed this presentation by Duncan Watts on the research going on around social media. He makes the key point that change doesn’t happen in large cascades but rather in a sequence of smaller cascades. For example, if a company wants to promote a product, the typical mindset is to try and influence key people. Instead, Watts suggests that small-scale strategies, targeting individuals instead of large systems (he has addressed this in Influentials, Networks, and Public Opinion Formation (.pdf)), is more effective…i.e. large newspaper ads aren’t as effective as small network exchanges (word of mouth).