Social network research questions influencer role

How important a few exceptionally influential people are to spurring social epidemics and viral campaigns is the subject of recent research by social network theorists Duncan J. Watts of Columbia University and Peter Sheridan Dodds of the University of Vermont in Burlington.

Published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the researchers’ findings question the notion of influencing the influential:

They found that highly influential individuals usually spread ideas more widely, but not very much more widely….Sometimes, the researchers found, the difference wasn’t even measurable.

In a few networks, ideas espoused by influential individuals spread much further than those of average folk, but those types of networks were not common and not likely to be similar to the real world….

More at Science News: The Power of Being Influenced, Network theory reveals the best way to spread ideas

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