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The Power of Social Networks | by jurvetson
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The Power of Social Networks

I hope I am making you happy.

 

Quotes from Nicholas Christakis’ TED Talk:

 

“If your friends are obese, your risk of obesity is 45% higher; if your friends’ friends are obese, your risk of obesity is 25% higher; and if your friend’s friend’s friend — someone you probably don’t even know — is obese, then your risk of obesity is 10% higher.

 

We found evidence for induction. If your friend becomes obese, it increases the risk of your obesity by 57% in the same given time period.

 

Perhaps your friends adopt a behavior that spreads to you, like they say “let’s go have muffins and beer”, which is a terrible combination, and you start to gain weight like them. And another more subtle possibility is that they start gaining weight, and it changes your ideas of what an acceptable body size is. And here what’s spreading from person to person is not a behavior but rather a norm; an idea is spreading.

 

I came to see these networks as living things.

 

We looked at smoking, and drinking, voting behavior, divorce, which can spread, and altruism.

 

There is emotional contagion that takes place in human populations. Emotions are a primitive form of communication.

 

Maybe there are emotional stampedes that ripple through human social networks. Maybe in fact emotions have a collective existence not just an individual existence.

 

The unhappy people seem to be collected at the edges. If you imagine social networks as a vast fabric of humanity, it is like an American quilt. There are patches of happy and unhappy people. And whether you are happy or not depends in part on whether you occupy a happy patch.

 

Social networks are fundamentally related to goodness, and what the world needs now is more connections.”

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Taken on February 11, 2010