Nicholas Christakis: Using Social Networks to Predict Adoption

TED.com, in its radical approach to open education, has done it again. As I have said before, humans are communal being. Understanding this truth can help us uncover social trends and phenomenon that often come around with little comprehension. TED speaker, Nicholas Christakis, illustrates how personal relationships can give us insight into how bodies of people adopt certain trends. Be it social, biological, political, or religious trends, drawing out social connections can help understand these adoption paths thus helping us to forecast new movements.

Social networks, online and off, have different players. There are ones with influence and others without, think about where you might fall? As Nicholas Christakis states, using these methods can help project how quickly adoption will take place. This information is incredibly valuable when planning for certain events. How much medicine, water, food do we need and by what date in order to curb a natural disaster. How far might an epidemic go? How viral is today’s internet meme going? All this data could be applied to a spectrum of possibilities. When is the right time to market a certain product? Should a press release go out now? These questions could be answered with these insights.

Nicholas Christakis even delves into the concept of the “internet of things.” The information being harvested by devices like mobile phones could be sent to databases in doctors office. Record labels could find out who the most influential twitters and bloggers are and contact them regarding a new musical release. Think of all of this as efficient marketing, in other words, “convert the leader and the others will follow suit.”

So how influential are you?

-Dan

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