Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Why Some Twitter Posts Catch On, and Some Don’t

This is an interesting article on information diffusion over online social networks and its effects on other disciplines such as marketing. The key points from my perspective are:

* The structure of the social network plays more important role in the information diffusion.
* Online information does not spread as simple as a viral transmission. People often wait until a number of friends or trusted sources have adopted and promoted this information.

This article reminded me of some thoughts I had a couple of months ago for the difference in cascading effects between a "real" social network and an online social network. During that period there was the following "trend" on Facebook: everyone should have as profile picture, that of their favorite cartoon. Within one or two days almost all my friends (along with a large portion of the whole network) had adopted this trend. The analogy in a real social network would be everyone to wear a costume of their favorite cartoon. From my point of view that would never happen (or at most very few people would follow it). Even though this is an extreme example, I think that it can stimulate interesting interdisciplinary research on the differences between a real and an online social network with a focus on cascading effects and the "strength" of interactions.

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