To address differences in education, health, or income, we must also address the personal connections of the people we are trying to help. To reduce crime, we need to optimize the kinds of connections potential criminals have a challenging proposition since we sometimes need to detain criminals.
But in an increasingly interconnected world, people with many ties may become even better connected while those with few ties may get left farther and farther behind. As a result, rewards may flow even more toward those with particular locations in social networks. This is the real digital divide.
When we analyzed their behavior, we found that altruism tends to spread and that the benefits tend to be magnified. When one person gives an extra dollar in the first round, the people in her group each tend to give about twenty cents more in the second round, even though they have been placed in […]
Of course, not all networks create something that is useful, valuable, and shared, let alone something that is positive. When we say “good” we really just mean any old thing: pistols and poisons are goods too. And networks can function as conduits for pathogens or panic. Indeed, social networks can be exploited for bad ends.
Do we help our friends or help ourselves? And what are the consequences? Will we look dumb if we help others? Will we look mean if we do not? Is it possible to be nice and survive? And how can we possibly make these decisions when we have many friends in a dancing pattern of […]
One of the key findings from these studies was that the media does not reach the masses directly. Instead, a group of “opinion leaders” usually acts as an intermediary, filtering and interpreting the media for their friends and family who pay less attention to politics. In other words, the media appeared to work by getting […]
While elites like corporate directors clearly benefit from shaping social networks to suit their needs, it is less clear whether these benefits reach other levels of society. If anything, social networks might be seen as an explanation for why economic inequality continues to rise. The logic is simple: if you are rich, you can attract […]
If a woman starts drinking heavily, both her male and her female friends are likely to follow suit. But when a man starts drinking more, he has much less effect on either his female friends or his male buddies down at the bar.
People see images of ideal body types in the media, but they are less influenced by such images — by this ideology — than they are by the actions and the appearance of the very real people to whom they are actually connected. This was written in 2009, I wonder if there are any changes […]
The more paths that connect you to other people in your network, the more susceptible you are to what flows within it. So, if you have multiple 3 degrees to people you’re more likely to be influenced.