Nicholas Christakis on Hidden Social Networks

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Guest Post by: Matthew Rogers

Nicholas Christakis discusses some of the ways in which our influences are shaped by the social networks we live in. These networks can be so vast, that the connections often go unseen. Christakis uses the example of depression, showing that a person’s stress often rubs off on those around them.

In this way, people, can affect a person’s mood, without the individual even knowing who these people are. Christakis explores this further. How do these social networks operate? How do they affect us? Turning to a different example, obesity, he shows that if a friend of yours is obese, there is a striking probability that you will be obese as well. Even if a friend of a friend of yours is obese, this influence persists, albeit diminished.

So, depending on the number of connections you have, and the nature of the connections themselves, you can influence people and be influenced by others. By studying these connections, we can help make sure the right ideas get to the right people.

Image by: jurvetson

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