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Online Social Networks Can Be Tipped By Less Than 1% of Their Population

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-are-all-individuals dept.

Social Networks 125

An anonymous reader writes "A new algorithm developed by researchers at West Point seems to break new ground for viral marketing practices in online social networks. Assuming a trend or behavior that spreads in an online social network based on the classic 'tipping' model from sociology (based on the work of Thomas Schelling and Mark Granovetter), the new West Point algorithm can find a set of individuals in the network that can initiate a social cascade – a progressive series of 'tipping' incidents — which leads to everyone in the social network adopting the new behavior. The good news for viral marketers is that this set of individuals is often very small – a sample of the Friendster social network can be influenced when only 0.8% of the initial population is seeded. The trick is finding the seed set. The algorithm is described in a paper to be presented later this summer at the prestigious IEEE ASONAM conference."

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Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211109)

a sample of the Friendster social network can be influenced when only 0.8% of the initial population is seeded.

Friendster? Wow, you could influence, like, 300 people!

Any chance they're just witnessing C&C nodes transmitting spam orders or pagerank gaming links to the remaining 99.2% of Friendster accounts (all of which are hacked and forgotten)?

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (5, Informative)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211231)

Friendster? Wow, you could influence, like, 300 people

American-centrist much, you insensitive clod?

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendster [wikipedia.org]

Since the relaunch of Friendster as a social gaming platform in June 2011, the number of registered users has reached over 115 million. Over 90% of Friendster's traffic came from Asia. The top 10 countries accessing Friendster, according to Alexa, as of May 7, 2009 are the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, South Korea, Bangladesh and India

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211307)

115 million? whodathot friendster could be bigger than a lot of major religions?

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (2, Insightful)

bkaul01 (619795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212169)

How are you defining a "major religion"? Christianity has around 2 billion adherents, Islam around 1.5 billion, Hinduism around a billion, Buddhism around half a billion ... other than Judaism, what major religions can count less than 115 million people?

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40212675)

> other than Judaism, what major religions

Obviously Judaism isnt a "major religion" then.

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (3, Insightful)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212919)

like this: christianity is not a religion, it's a classification of religions. catholics are not methodists are not baptists are not 7th day adventists are not episcopalians are not jehovah witnesses etc...

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (1, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213061)

Wrong. The inside of a Baptist church is no different than the inside of a Methodist church, and the sermons are likewise similar. The only thing that's different is the trappings; all of Christainity worship the same savior and are supposed to follow the same rules. It's no different than Ubuntu and Red Hat, both are Linux and use the same kernel.

Also, the GP's numbers are flawed (I looked it up a few weeks ao in response to a /. comment). He's overestimating the Hinus by a little, the Muslims by a little, and underestimating the number of Christians by a third. Over three billion people consider themselves Christian (even if few of them even attempt to follow Christ's teachings).

Oh, and when you don't capitalize Hindu or Muslim or Bhuddist or Christian, you're insulting millions or billions of people. We call that "flamebait" around here.

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (2)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213231)

You forgot to mention - when he didn't capitalize Like, he insulted half a dozen Grammar Nazis.

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (0)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213795)

i do not give a fuck what people think about my lower-case style. if you're too ignorant to realize this is my style and not flamebait, i have no sympathy for you. also, i'm not required to believe in or even respect any religion so the capitalization rule is even more irrelevant to me. oh, and you're completely wrong about there being no difference. many of them have wildly different definitions of what's required to go to heaven (and even what heaven is). some say you just need to "accept" christ, others say you have to put your money where you mouth is, others have varying ideas of what's a sin and what degree of evil it is. you should compare catholics and mormons (who, yes, proclaim to believe in jesus christ) and notice what a huge difference in ideology they have, despite having the same figurehead to worship. while ubuntu and red hat may be linux, they too behave differently -- even different flavors of ubuntu will have different package managers, desktops and workflows, drivers supported, etc. have you used unity? the fact that they use the same kernel is equivalent to the other christian religions all believing in jesus christ. after that, there are differences abound.

p.s. why don't you go post some links to pictures of the inside of a catholic cathedral, a jehovah witnesses church, and a mormon church side by side so we can see how identical they are. (hint: the mormon church is the one with the basketball court inside, with almost no exceptions).

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40214185)

You really are an ignorant clod aren't you. Not just for your lack of knowledge regarding religion...but your claiming improper punctuation as a style, rather than the obvious laziness that it is.

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215605)

Obviously both his shift keys are broken.

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216873)

Yeah, but what really caught me is the comment about the basketball court. Polygamy AND basketball? Where do I sign?

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (2)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40214055)

all of Christainity worship the same savior and are supposed to follow the same rules.

That's not completely true. While they all have their roots in the same book, the actual religions can be very different.

Roman Catholics, for example, include the worship of demigods (they call them Saints) and obeisance to the Church hierarchy, as well as the rite of confession. Some Protestant religions base their religion on personal understanding of the New and Old Testaments, and the Good Book is the only set of rules to live by. Some Protestant religions include the rite of confession, some don't. Some have clergy, some don't.

To say that all Christian religions are the same except for trappings would be the same as saying that all Abrahamic faiths are the same except for trappings. I mean, sure, Christians have a set of extra books to follow (compared to Jews),and Muslims have another book on top of that. But really, it's the same God they worship, so they're all the same religion, right?

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (1)

aamcf (651492) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217581)

Roman Catholics, for example, include the worship of demigods (they call them Saints)

No they do not.

I'm not a Roman Catholic, but I am married to one, and my best friend is one.

Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40214471)

Every Baptist church I've ever been in (all of the southern verity) have a see through bath tub up behind the Sunday Morning Singers (TM) where they do the Dupe Dunking (TM). Methodist just sprinkle the Dupe Babies (TM) so they don't require the peeping-tom bath tub.

Also, Mormons are not Christian for the same reason Christians are not Jews.

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216853)

And, just like both Redhat and Ubuntu apply their own patches to the standard kernel, so do the different sects within the same brand twist the rules to suit them - Jehovas can't receive blood, anglicans seem to have little problems with gays and women, et cetera.

It also depends on where you grip the various sects together to get bigger brands. You talk about Christianity as a big one; but why not grab just one branch higher and group the christians together with the jews and probably a few others under the Abrahamic religion? In the end it comes down to one or more beards in the sky. Well, except for buddhism, that has a fat man instead.

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211367)

It looks like it peaked around 2008 (at least in interest on search engines). http://www.google.com/trends/?q=friendster

Algorithm is very simple (5, Funny)

mrops (927562) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211823)

I looked at it, and it looks like this

public static boolean willTip(User user) {
  if(user.sex == SexType.FEMALE && user.hotness>(Long.MAX_VALUE-100)) {
      return true
  }
  return false;
}

Re:Wow, Friendster? All 300 Users? (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211497)

Any chance they're just witnessing C&C nodes transmitting spam orders or pagerank gaming links to the remaining 99.2% of Friendster accounts (all of which are hacked and forgotten)?

It's a comp sci paper that is looking for connected nodes in a network, and they're using copies of data sets of social networks as their starting point. They aren't monitoring networks looking for "who is exerting influence over them", they're looking for nodes that are well connected to other nodes, presuming those represent the most valuable people to convince.

Now, could those "friends and families" in the network data actually be there as part of a botnet controller and its zombie minions? Sure, why not? But each one of those would be a single node in the set of nodes as having the right connections. Doesn't mean that marketing to the botherder or the botnet is going to get you much business, but if you were looking for someone who has influence, it would identify the botherder and not the bots themselves.

Re:prestigious IEEE ASONAM conference (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213421)

The algorithm is described in a paper to be presented later this summer at the prestigious IEEE ASONAM conference.

I can just imagine the talk now.

We were dead wrong. The IEEE ASONAM conference is not prestigious at all. No one takes our tweets seriously. The algorithm proved conclusively that my 13 years old kid sister has more prestige and influence over the rest of academia than the entire IEEE ASONAM conference speakers and attendees combined.

It all makes sense (5, Funny)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211133)

Is this what Occupy means when they say 1% of the country controls everything?

Re:It all makes sense (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211357)

But which 1%, There are a lot of 1% out there.

The Tea Party is controlled by the Oil Companies 1%.
The Occupy is controlled by the Unions 1%
The Favorite Trend is controlled by the Marketers 1%...

It doesn't seem that you have any decisions to make for yourself, There is always someone else telling you what to think.

Re:It all makes sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40212685)

I'm not sure the examples you give each represent a different 1% Keeping the 99% busy pointing fingers at each other seems to be the strategy.

Re:It all makes sense (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213473)

It doesn't seem that you have any decisions to make for yourself, There is always someone else telling you what to think.

There will always be people telling other people what to think. It's called communication. In some cases this is because people who actually know better than "common sense" feel obligated to go out and try to talk more sense into "common sense." In other cases this is because people who ought to know better get their jollies by taking advantage of deficiencies in "common sense."

(Rommunism: a system of government in which all wealth is redistributed evenly among Mitt Romney. Screw the 1%.)

Re:It all makes sense (2)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213553)

The implied metric of the "we are the 99%" is either wealth or income, which is nearly synonymous. This has been painfully clear to anyone that's been paying attention. I'm going to feel dirty for this, but I also have to defend the TEA party. They're only controlled by the oil companies if you look at it through conspiracy glasses and assume that foxnews is controlled by oil men. They have tangential control at best.
I think you just tacked on "1%" to the end of some stereotypes and thought it was clever.

And of course there's always someone else that wants you on their side. Probably a lot of people. Welcome to a democracy, where they care what you think. It's your civil duty to parse through the marketing bullshit, choose the one you think is best, and either vote for the guy or support the cause.

Re:It all makes sense (1)

lacaprup (1652025) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211369)

Can't be, this 1% actually exists and works in concert for concrete goals.

Re:It all makes sense (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211449)

If concrete goals = Lolcatz, getting a crowbar for Mafia Wars, and random inspirational posters, then you are correct.

Re:It all makes sense (3, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211393)

Is this what Occupy means when they say 1% of the country controls everything?

Uh, I tend to read this statistic in the other direction. It means 99.2% of people are nothing more than sheep following the flock, which makes sense considering we're basically talking about Farcebook. All other forms of social networking have pretty much been reduced to a moot point.

Re:It all makes sense (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211521)

That's not really what this statistic is saying. It is using a "tipping" model, where it assumes anyone who has more than 50% of his friends exhibiting the behavior will automatically adopt it. A useful model, but not actually true (like nearly all mathematical models, it is only approximately true in the real world). That means they only have to find a "seed" population to adopt the trend: the model says if all of them adopt it, everyone on the network will. Think of it less like sheep and more like dominoes: you only need to trigger one dominoe to trigger the rest, but that presumes a carefully constructed ideal system. In reality, 99% of people may be sheep, but this study says absolutely nothing about that. It assumes it, rather than proving it.

Re:It all makes sense (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212423)

Very good points and let's add a bit to it. Most of us pick people as friends who have some qualities in common with us and often also some qualities we admire or respect. What those are varies from friend to friend so a given friend can influence is some ways (what we like about them) and not in other ways (what we don't think they do well). So I would think that the 1% we call influencers vary depending on what the topic is. There is no permanent and fixed 1%.

Re:It all makes sense (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213833)

That means they only have to find a "seed" population to adopt the trend: the model says if all of them adopt it, everyone on the network will.

The book "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" covers exactly what this article is talking about. Quite an interesting read.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipping_Point [wikipedia.org]

Re:It all makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215225)

Where does age fit in? I've deduced through my own observations over the last 40 years that the younger you are, the more likely and faster you are to follow and adopt characteristics of your friends and peers.

Re:It all makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217781)

mm... spherical cows...

Re:It all makes sense (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213097)

The real trick is finding the right message that would even be accepted by the original seed set

Take that "occupy movement" for instance. It doesn't matter if you can retrospectively identify the top influencers of that movement. If you'd need to convince those influencers of something, you'd have to convince them of your message first, which I bet would be much more difficult than to convince regular members of that same network.

So the next thing you could do is hijack their account and try to transmit your message that way, but even that would be next to useless. If your message is not congruent with the previous messages those top influencers were previously sending, your message will likely be ignored by their followers.

Re:It all makes sense (2)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211971)

It's the other way around; Occupy is trying to be the seed that starts the social cascade. Their problem is twofold though 1) They represent far, far less than the necessary seed size, and 2) Their attempts to initiate tipping incidents don't result in any cascade because the 99% they claim as sympathizers aren't.

Re:It all makes sense (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212347)

I think more of the 99% would be sympathizers if Occupy could articulate a clear message instead of emotion. The message is lost in the theater of it all.

Re:It all makes sense (3, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212415)

It's the other way around; Occupy is trying to be the seed that starts the social cascade. Their problem is twofold though 1) They represent far, far less than the necessary seed size, and 2) Their attempts to initiate tipping incidents don't result in any cascade because the 99% they claim as sympathizers aren't.

That's because they use the wrong targets that end up making them look like unemployed hippies.

To "tip" a population properly requires people to reaosnably agree with you - if I headed occupy (metaphoically), you can start with something so simple, so basic, yet everyone is powerless to fix.

An example would be gas - why is it costing just the same as it did before the crash? Oil's down these days (and yes, even though there's about as much relation between gas prices and oil prices as there is between a head of lettuce and oil prices, most people equate oil prices with gas). Tap into that rage and it's much easier to tip.

Trying to convince people that the rich are ruining our lives and enslaving us is a concept that's much too foreign to most people to comprehend. Use more concrete examples and you'll be more successful. Especially if that example has a deep-rooted emotion attached with it.

It also applies to everything - take ACTA for example. Talking about copyright law in general gets you blank stares. So talk about its effects - it can make your iPod illegal (think "they're gonna take your iPod away!").

A concrete example is worth way more to tip someone over in your favor than some wishy-washy concept that no one can relate to. Heck, it can even be seasonal - support for global warming ebbs and flows - it ebbs in the winter and reaches a low in the spring, and flows in the summer. The hotter the summer, the more support grows. The colder the winter, the more support is lost.

Re:It all makes sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40213353)

That's because they use the wrong targets that end up making them look like unemployed hippies.

Dude go see them in person, they are unemployed hippies.

I was just thinking about this in the morning, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211167)

How small of a group of people do you need to leave a network to reach a tipping point to cause the social network to collapse. Good to know the answer is 0.8%

Re:I was just thinking about this in the morning, (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211453)

Yes. That was my thought.

Get the right 1% of people onto your Facebook competitor and Facebook is done.

Re:I was just thinking about this in the morning, (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215037)

$26.84 after hours. Down 30% from their opening. Seems pretty done to me.

-- Terry

How about the Linux mailing list? (1)

davecb (6526) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211175)

I suspect I know the name of *one* of the main influencers...

--dave

1% can tip anything (2)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211181)

Look at, well... anything. In any human social activity, there are a few people who drive all the activity, and the rest are happy to follow along.

Even leadership personalities are followers much of the time. It's not like everyone can be leaders in everything. You can only ever lead in a few small areas. (Though of course, some people lead more than others; while some people lead in nothing at all, I suppose.)

Re:1% can tip anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40212109)

Even leadership personalities are followers much of the time. It's not like everyone can be leaders in everything

And yet, you can always count on corporate types to extole leadership as a virtue, and to require excessive numbers of employees to attend leadership oriented conferences. By definition, only a few can be leaders. I'm inclined to fold my arms, stand my ground and say "I'm not attending. By refusing to attend, I demonstrate true leadership". Alas, the free snacks always sway me towards acceptance. I guess I'm not a true leader.

As an indie author (2)

yoctology (2622527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211183)

Trying to be noticed among a million other offerings, this is good news. After doing my best job writing, I can then try to figure out how to reach my own 1% to tip them toward my work, rather than trying to brute-force popularity.

Re:As an indie author (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211255)

"Trying to be noticed among a million other offerings,..."

MyCleanPC for gay niggers from Mars?

'Law of the Few' from Malcolm Gladwell (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211303)

Trying to be noticed among a million other offerings, this is good news. After doing my best job writing, I can then try to figure out how to reach my own 1% to tip them toward my work, rather than trying to brute-force popularity.

Not sure if he's the first to think of this but I read a book called The Tipping Point [wikipedia.org] that describes three kinds of people: salesmen, mavens and connectors. He speculates this is a small part of the population that the rest of the population actually relies on.

Some of them you know, like Oprah and her book club. Some of them you might not realize that you have access to like a stay at home mom who talks on the phone or a literature nerd that posts all the time online.

Re:As an indie author (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211337)

As an indie author, you will never be able to afford Facebook's fee for delivering your content to your 1%. That's sort of the entire point of modern social networking.

Re:As an indie author (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211543)

easy, publish to amazon kindle, have free books every so often. this way you appear on one of the free kindle book lists that get updated daily and people will check out your work

Re:As an indie author (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213633)

I advise you write a good enough story that the all-masterful 1% will choose to push your work onto their friends and cohorts. I mean, even if you had the name and address of this mystical 1%, what would you do reach them? Take them out to lunch? Give them a free copy? Pay them for a review? How is that not subverting the system which I go to for book suggestions? How anti-social of you. (Well, I can understand giving out free copies to critics, but that's moot with today's piracy and digital distribution.)

I'd prefer if you brute-force the popularity of your work via sheer quality.

Re:As an indie author (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215091)

(Slashdot Meta-Meme)
You are an Indie Author, hmm? Yet you make a post disdaining popularity!?

So what is your position on Copyright? Post a link to your story, right here, right now. Or else admit that you don't think the Slashdot readership is not 3 steps from your 1% tippers.

So release a Creative Commons version of your book(s).

(/Slashdot Meta-Meme)

Locke and Demosthenes from Ender's Game (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211229)

Does this remind anyone of Locke and Demosthenes from Ender's Game? Seeding a few carefully worded articles to change the discourse of the network?

Re:Locke and Demosthenes from Ender's Game (0)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211591)

Stop posting anonymously, OSC. Your plan just won't work.

Re:Locke and Demosthenes from Ender's Game (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212013)

I don't see anyone out there making a case for war with Russia.

Re:Locke and Demosthenes from Ender's Game (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213459)

Yet.

I am hearing more and more on the news/on-line about how Russia and some other country are involved in something dodgy. Too lazy to look it up. Just take my word for it.

Sheeple (4, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211247)

A much more interesting conclusion of this study is that 99.2% of social network users will do anything their friends would tell them to do.

Re:Sheeple (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212743)

Hence why corps pay trolls and shills to post flames and fanboyisms: It just works!

Re:Sheeple (1)

youknowwhat (920343) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213313)

it is still better than the reality.

The trick is not just finding the seed set (5, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211269)

"The trick is finding the seed set." No, you still have to influence the seed set, which might be really hard.

Let's say this model predicts that I can end terrorism by converting 100 radical muslims to buddhism. How does that help me? (Simply sending in drones to remove these nodes from the graph, so to speak, will not have the same effect).

Second example, let's say my novel is almost guaranteed to be successful if it gets a glowing review in the New York Times. Well, how hard can that be? Usually trusted nodes are trusted for some reason - because they're reliable. That means they're hard to influence.

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211341)

no, you missed it. the point is that there is a 1% out there that will be influenced by whatever you have in mind, so the trick is finding that 1% who is ready to do your bidding.

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (2)

utoddl (263055) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211655)

No, the trick is to find the 1% of the 1% who will influence the other 99% of the greater 1% who will then get everybody else on board and get them on board.

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (1)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211835)

No, the trick is to be the 1 person who finds the 100 who will influence the 1000 who can...

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212839)

yo dawg?

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211871)

I feel as though this is similar to someone with strong cultish influence over a large impressionable crowd. Take for instance someone like Steven Colbert-- has a message and means to broadcast it. He can say one thing and make something happen by directing his followers to take action. Now, as you say, the hard part is garnering the ability to influence people and have them trust your word and back you. But, Take someone with a mixed message and veil it with "humor" you can turn a large crowd into a focused task force-- literally and figuratively. This can translate to a Page on Facebook, a twitter account, etc. Because of this, I believe that yes, indeed, a fad can be [almost] instantly created on a whim by the right person or persons.

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (2)

yoctology (2622527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211993)

I think you are misusing "hard." For an example, one of my books has a very minor incident in which a Glock 30 is used. I know an influential writer and reviewer is an enthusiastic 2nd Amendment champion. I send her a crafted blurb mentioning the Glock. bingo. We exchange friendly messages about pistols, she buys the book and is now reviewing it for her multi thousand followers.

It wasn't hard to influence her; just took a second of reflection and doing what people do socially all the time without thinking. The overall point is that even authors with extremely limited advertising funds can make up for it with luck and savvy. On the other hand I am unlikely to win a chess tournament no matter how clever or lucky I am.

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40214129)

You are missing the OP's point. He is not saying it is hard to influence a member if that group. What makes it hard is that you have to get all of those influencers and you have to do it in such a way that none of them start feeling like you are manipulating them before you have convinced all of them.

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40212003)

let's say my novel is almost guaranteed to be successful if it gets a glowing review in the New York Times. Well, how hard can that be?

It depends on who you know. Everything has a price.

Re:The trick is not just finding the seed set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40212943)

Trusted nodes are trusted because people like them, not because they are trustworthy or necessarily reliable. Some people may have that as criteria for who they listen to, but you only have to look at the celebrity culture we have today to see that it isn't true for most people.

It's called a Preference Cascade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211311)

Aaron Barr vs Anon (1)

thisisfutile (2640809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211315)

Sounds like what Aaron Barr was trying to do to reveal the identities of anonymous.

This isn't news, is it? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211339)

I've got news for them: this works in offline social networks too. It just works faster online.

Re:This isn't news, is it? (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211667)

I remember reading about a US study during the Cold War which found that if three specific people in the military and government colluded together they could start an unauthorised nuclear war. Fortunately the government ensured that it couldn't 'work' by monitoring those three people to ensure they couldn't collude.

Bellwether (2)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211403)

This brings to mind the Connie Willis novel Bellwether [wikipedia.org]

The main character, Dr. Sandra Foster, studies fads in Boulder, Colorado. Her employer, Hi-Tek, wants to know how to predict fads, in order to take advantage of this knowledge and thus to possibly create one.

A good read, quite enjoyable and funny.

Re:Bellwether (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211631)

Agreed, i was going to recommend that if someone else hadn't already. I really wish she'd do more relatively light humorous stuff. "Bellwether" and "To Say Nothing of the Dog" are my favorite books by her.

"The trick is finding the seed set." (4, Insightful)

Lord Byron Eee PC (1579911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211411)

"The trick is finding the seed set." No, it's not. The real trick is finding the seed set of the seed set. On Facebook, you have 900 million users. 1% of that is 9 million, which is too large to influence. But 1% of that 1% is just 90,000, something that a targeted advertising campaign might be able to influence.

Re:"The trick is finding the seed set." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40213631)

Why stop there, find the seed set of the seed set of the seed set and you are down to 900, one more level and you are down to 9.
9 people can topple facebook!

Or perhaps society doesn't work like that. My guess is that the 1% that influences the 99% isn't as easily influenced. If they where they would be part of the 99%

Re:"The trick is finding the seed set." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40213735)

The seed set would be the minimum set to influence, to tip the group. There can't be a seed-set to the seed-set.

We have a word for these people. (1)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211419)

Celebrities (which is a superset of Politician). And yes... a large portion of the population bases their decisions/vote off of what someone says simply because they look good on TV... and before that b/c they sound good on radio... and before that b/c they wrote what they wanted to hear.

Shortcut to finding seedset (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211445)

Find hottest women. May involve people belonging to sororities. Seedset found, problem solved. Next.

By influencing the seed set... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211629)

Will you change the set? The are a seed set for a reason. Will influencing them make them less credible, or whatever makes them seed-worthy?

Re:By influencing the seed set... (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213999)

It would depend on what you have them say. If they end up promoting a product that's an out right scam then yes it would hurt their credibility. If they are promoting the latest Internet commercial produced by TacoBell with a talking dog I doubt it will hurt it much.

90-9-1 rule (2)

sckienle (588934) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211657)

I may have the title of this wrong, but it is a well known rule of thumb in social media tech circles that of 100% of users, 90% pretty much just read, 9% post regularly, and only 1% are really active. So they have simply come up with the algorithm to determine that 1%.

Re:90-9-1 rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40212187)

they look up activity log?

Not quite new (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211661)

In marketing these individuals are referred to as people with high SNP (social network potential). They are people who can share one message and sway many. The goal is to get them a message either by paying them or cleverly exposing them to something that they can make go viral. I read about in a book called Digimarketing, which I think came out in 2007.

This just in... (3, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211709)

Online Social Media Networks Inflate Their Numbers by 5000%.

When only 2% of the registered accounts are active, it's not hard to see that the right 1% can make a big change.

ORLY? (0)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211861)

Only 1%? But that's an epic fail! though I kinda <3 the fact that social networks* are so much less resilient than cows! With cows, you have to tip each one individually. With people, you knock over one out of 100, and the rest drop on their belly and wriggle. A happy GOOSESTEP FUN TIEM is had by all.

But I'm a hyprocrite, because I'm a sucker for memes. I thought writing "You know what you doing!!" (the italic exclamation marks mattered more to me than anyone will ever know) was funny years after the all your base meme had died. I'll never warm up to saying "this", though. For starters, it can be too easily refuted, like by saying "not this, actually". You can outright pwn someone by replying that. But noobs never learn, do they? lulz.

(how did we call the *exactly* same thing before we had the notion of networks, by the way?)

Obviously. . . (2)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40211865)

. . .all anyone needs to know is what it will take to get Kevin Bacon to change from on social network to another.

The RIAA and MPAA are just trying to be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40211931)

Hmm... that theory doesn't work

Uhhhh... Captain Obvios on line one... (2)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212313)

I guess they've never heard of George Takei... he tips The Facebook everyday.

Re:Uhhhh... Captain Obvios on line one... (2)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40213521)

I was thinking the same thing.

"I'll take Takei for the tip."

Wait, let me rephrase that....

Don't take this seriously (2)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212471)

Look you can't take claims like this seriously, by which i mean as immutable laws of nature or even as normative of online communities in a longitudinal sense, that is, as an enduring property of online communities.

From the paper:

In this problem we have a social network in the form of a directed graph and thresholds for each individual. Based on this data, the desired output is the smallest possible set of individuals such that, if initially activated, the entire population will adopt the new behavior (a seed set)

What the study shows in not that will happen in real social networks, but rather in their "tipping model" which is a directed graph whose nodes "activate" when they reach a certain threshold.of input given to them by surrounding nodes.

So what they demonstrated was a property of directed graphs and nodes with a certain made-up (ad hoc) set of characteristics. To assume that those characteristics are descriptive of human beings in a real social network is to extrapolate beyond the results of paper.

The authors obviously think that such extrapolation may be possible since they cite two other papers that they characterize as showing that real social networks have exhibited such behavior, but actually, those papers show something much more hypothetical and specific which I won't go into here.

When they say they applied their theory to social networks, (Buzznet Douban Flickr Flixster FourSquare Frienster Last.Fm LiveJournal Livemocha WikiTalk ) they mean they borrowed the physical topology - the interconnectedness of the nodes- of those networks, (which is available to researchers) NOT that they either found examples of nor instigated the real world behaviour of the people in those networks.

Back to reality, that such things CAN happen is not surprising . I am pretty sure Jennifer Aniston represented less than 1% of the group of American females in the mid 90s, and she wielded the power to tip hairstyles ("The Rachel" hairstyle!!! ) enormously in that time.

Similarly in Roman times, the hairstyles of prominent individual women would appear on coins, for instance, the Emperor's wife. This would lead to a frenzy of copycat hairstyles because hairstyle was one way the rich signaled their status.

There's a danger here that graph theory being applied to social networks will play the role of the mythical "perfectly rational actor" has played in economics. That is, a clean model which produces complex results whose ultimate referent is ONLY itself and in many decisive ways emits behaviour which is OPPOSITE of the behaviour of the real world entity which the theory sought to model.

People are irrational in ways that until recently, with the advent of behavioural economics, were not accounted for in economic models. IMO behavioural economics might as well have taken the name "real economics" . The same thing is going on here. How real people really behave in social networking sites is a wide open question. What we know is people hate to be manipulated and will act against their own seeming best interests in a wide variety of circumstances. See Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational" for some examples. Also here's the page on irrationality in Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrationality [wikipedia.org]

The point here is

1) this is not a study of people's behaviour, it's a study of the behaviour of nodes which have just those properties the researchers elected to give them transferred to a network topologies which were taken from a variety of real social networks.

2) The behaviour of real social networks is not determined by the assumptions of the researchers

3) nor did those assumptions model the actual behavior of real people in those networks.

Real behaviour is vastly more complex than emitting behavior when a threshold "input" from surrounding people is reached.

Finally, it should be noted that probably something close to close to 100% of computer savvy researchers in this field are well aware of the slashdot effect and the positive follow -on consequences to their careers and reputation being slashdotted can have.

Caveat Emptor.

Re:Don't take this seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216119)

Ni!

That was a fine comment : )

I'd go even further and say that not only this ignores the real human behavior, it also ignores the real network topology.

Actual influence is exerted through several different media. Social networking websites is only one of the carrires of any single influence. This work completely ignores the effect of mass media, of the web, of instant messaging, of telephone conversations etc.

(It also ignores the issue that messages have meaning and that humans have the odd tendency to transform meanings as they spread, so things are actually way way more complicated, in a way that in fact renders the whole idea of predictive social network modeling a silly exercise of intellectual masturbation.)

And that goes besides the fact that the "tipping model" (actually called "threshold model") is a description of a very particular kind of influence, which only applies - as intended by its original proponents - to a few social situations. That is, even in the idealized case, only a limited group of influences would be subject to such a model.

Also, there is absolutely nothing really new to this research, other people had come up with algorithms that do pretty much the same or something very close to that, like, four years ago.

Network research - and not only the social kind - is by far where some of the most overstated "scientific" results have sprung, and unfortunately I have to say that as a researcher in the field. : P

Oh, and by the way, "behavioral econimics" is just a mix of sociology and psychology that is as old as the idea of six-degrees of separation, except that it has a brand name that econimists can swallow while still pretending to preserve their pride.

; )

Hugs! .~

Re:Don't take this seriously (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217317)

Oh, and by the way, "behavioral econimics" is just a mix of sociology and psychology that is as old as the idea of six-degrees of separation, except that it has a brand name that econimists can swallow while still pretending to preserve their pride.

Ha, now that's a good insight. Never underestimate or, always overestimate, the power of ego-saving devices when trying to course correct a ship carrying a lot of egos ...

All this stuff is fascinating and I wish I had about 35 lifetimes to spend on it all.

1%? Hrm, seems high (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40212481)

Since it happens very easily in society, where is the surprise when aggregation of data by a piece of technology makes it easier?

Again 1% seems as high . . . also, just because something catches on easily, does that mean they can be influenced? If something is actually universally funny, wouldn't that make it catch on?

Let's study something mundane like changing from Coke to Pepsi.

I think I know what the seed set is.. (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40212561)

.. some Jamaica, a bit of Colombian and some home grown Sensimilla ... now where is that pizza deliver number....

Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40213879)

Foreign agents buy US lawmakers to control US foreign policy - that's several hundred individuals out of what 250 million. Now that's influence.

Extrapolate to a single individual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40214665)

See The Avatar from "The Religion War" by Scott Adams.

This info WILL be used for spam.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215345)

At first glance, this appears to be just another way to create some sort of demand for something (or someone) to just make a buck in the end. Yawn. :P

CAPTCHA: prorated [Something financial...how apt!]

Unusually small number theory... (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | more than 2 years ago | (#40215613)

Did they analyze the average Bacon number of those within this tipping 1%? Since we are talking about influential people, perhaps they should have used the Christopher Lee geometric range index as well. Also, I wouldn't call it "a progressive series of 'tipping' incidents" if anything, tipping has been highly regressive for wages in the food service and hospitality industries.

Most people are easily swayed stupid sheep (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40215763)

Or multiple account using trolls. Ask this slashdot registered user member:

barbara.hudson@unjava.com from http://slashdot.org/~Barbara%2C+not+Barbie [slashdot.org] = barbara.hudson@barbara-hudson.com from http://slashdot.org/~tomhudson [slashdot.org] who has multiple accounts for trolling others, modding herself up and her opponents down, and stalking them by ac posts which she admits to here and told others to join her in doing which is breaking the rules of this forum as well as laws.

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