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Study finds surprising source of social influence: Want to promote your new product or trigger a shift in thinking? Steer clear of the influencers -- ScienceDailySo, if you want to spread gossip -- easily digestible, uncontroversial bits of information -- go ahead and tap an influencer. But if you want to transmit new ways of thinking that challenge an existing set of beliefs, seek out hidden locations in the periphery and plant the seed there. "Our big discovery," Centola added, "is that every network has a hidden social cluster in the outer edges that is perfectly poised to increase the spread of a new idea by several hundred percent. These social clusters are ground zero for triggering tipping points in society." Centola and Guilbeault applied their findings to predicting the spread of a new microfinance program across dozens of communities in India. By considering what was being spread through the networks, they were able to predict where it should originate from, and whether it would spread to the rest of the population. Their predictions identified the exact people who were most influential for increasing the adoption of the new program. Guilbeault, now an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, noted, "in a sense, we found that the center of the network changed depending on what was spreading. The more uncertain people were about a new idea, the more that social influence moved to the people who only had parochial connections, rather than people with many far-reaching social connections." Guilbeault added, "the people in the edges of the network suddenly had the greatest influence across the entire community."
Simulation "proves" Gladwell wrongThey looked at that information spread in several ways, comparing via computer simulation how information moved throughout the networks when it came solely through word-of-mouth within a network ("bottom up"), when it came solely through external advertising or public information ("top down") and when it came through varying bottom-up and top-down combinations. What they discovered refutes Gladwell's concept that network position is always paramount. They found that in instances where there is even a small amount of advertising -- even when it is just a quarter of a percent as strong as word-of-mouth -- there's virtually no difference between the influence of the person at the center of a network and those further out on the string.
Confessions of an Instagram Influencer - BloombergThat night, I signed up for a service recommended to me by Socialyte called Instagress. It’s one of several bots that, for a fee, will take the hard work out of attracting followers on Instagram. For $10 every 30 days, Instagress would zip around the service on my behalf, liking and commenting on any post that contained hashtags I specified. (I also provided the bot a list of hashtags to avoid, to minimize the chances I would like pornography or spam.) I also wrote several dozen canned comments—including “Wow!” “Pretty awesome,” “This is everything,” and, naturally, “[Clapping Hands emoji]”—which the bot deployed more or less at random. In a typical day, I (or “I”) would leave 900 likes and 240 comments. By the end of the month, I liked 28,503 posts and commented 7,171 times.
Clustered Networks Spread Behavior Change Faster | WIREDTo do the experiment, he created an internet-based health community and invited people already participating in other online health forums to join. Over 1,500 people signed up to participate, and they were placed anonymously in one of two different kinds of networks: a random network with many distant ties (above left), or a clustered network with many overlapping connections (above right). Users in both networks had the same number of assigned “health buddies.” They couldn’t contact their buddies directly, but they could see how their buddies rated content on the site, and could receive e-mails informing them of their buddies activities. […]In the clustered network, 54 percent of the people signed up for the forum, compared to 38 percent in the random network, and almost four times as fast. Not surprisingly, Centola also found the more friends people had that also signed up, the more likely they were to return to the forum to participate.
Clustered Networks Spread Behavior Change Faster | WIREDIn the clustered network, 54 percent of the people signed up for the forum, compared to 38 percent in the random network, and almost four times as fast.
Despite the efforts of companies like Klout and Twitalyzer, the industry that’s appeared around “influence” measurement best resembles the early days of search engine optimization. It’s full of tricks, games, and shady third parties trying to game the system to make a quick buck. Anyone with a few hours to spare can create a Twitter bot that not only appears human, but that, according to the best tools we have right now, is a more influential entity than actual people.